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Business or Consumer - Classic Chicken or Egg Conundrum

Neil Irwin lays out a number of anecdotal examples of why the economy is struggling in The Washington Post.  Irwin's story is centered on why corporations are running leaner and being less aggressive in considering expansion.  In short, businesses are waiting for the consumer to start spending more and fear that won't happen for years.

Many consumers are cutting back on spending and trying to reduce debt because they do not feel their job is secure.  And, of course, more than 25 million are not spending for anything but bare essentials because they are unemployed or under employed.

Businesses won't hire because consumers won't spend.  Consumers won't spend because businesses won't hire.  Which comes first:  the chicken or the egg?

Disclosure: No stocks mentioned.