The “Consumer Cockiness Index”

The Conference Board has just release the latest Consumer Confidence Index (CCI), and the numbers have rebounded nicely for December. Who the hell is the Conference Board polling?

Retailers are desperately seeking AFTER-Christmas sales to shore up their year, domestic auto makers spent the summer giving away cars at the expense of any year end bump, and we just saw housing sales decline (month-on-month) the most in a decade. Meanwhile, my personal, unofficial poll, yielded the following…

My closest friends decided to spend less this season, and do it sans credit. They stayed home for the holidays, instead of traveling. They opted for entertainment like open-air shows and walking their neighborhood to look at lights, and they went to the movies a few times. They bought most of their gifts online, and spent a lot of time shopping for the best prices.ccidatod.gif

Those friends run the gamut of political thinking, from the Christian conservative to the ultra-liberal, anti-Bush types. They are literary, financially, technologically and traditionally, well educated. They are gainfully employed, in mostly professional environments, generally consumer-debt free, and are focused on net-worth, not asset base. A couple have or are selling their big homes for smaller, mortgage free ones. They drive well-used cars.
Maybe I just answered my own question. The Conference Board is polling everyone else. Those with five maxed out credit cards, a 105% financed townhome, two “home equity” lines, and a leased ’05 Lexus in the driveway. No savings account, no brokerage account, no safe deposit box with a few gold bars in it. The Conference Board polls the folks they know they can convince to spend just a little more, because “everyone else” is.

The cocky kid on the playground always gets beat up when everyone least expects it. But that kid is popular right up until, and they always drag the innocent along with them.

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