Despite all the hype of the over leveraged consumer, you shouldn't believe it. This data comes from the flow of funds that was released today:
(even though the data is for households and nonprofits, nonprofits represent a deminimis portion of the total assets)
The important data from this sheet are that assets are $67T and the liabilities are $14T. This leaves the consumer with a net worth of $53T, which was actually an increase Q/Q.
If consumers in general were a company, we may look at their total leverage on a debt to cap basis. For the consumer, this ratio is 20% (14/67) which is completely reasonable! This leverage and a positive net worth by definition mean that the consumer is not in fact drowning in a pile of debt.
I think that most of the thesis that the consumer is over-leveraged comes from looking at debt as a percentage of GDP (which is way over 1x). This is probably not a fair analysis because it disregards the wealth that has been stored by Americans from a century of being the most prosperous country in the world.
Don't believe the savings rate either. Given the fact that Americans have a positive and growing net worth, it simply doesn't make sense to say they haven't been saving. Americans have been storing away for a rainy day, and this allows us to spend as much as we have.