Shoppers are propping up the economy. What if they stop spending?

Core retail sales plummeted 1.7% in December, the most in nearly two decades.
Blame the December stock market chaos. Or the beginning of the government shutdown. Or even “glitches” in the data, as White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow did last week.
No matter the cause, the apparent abrupt shift in spending sent economists scrambling to mark down their forecasts for growth. Goldman Sachs trimmed its fourth-quarter GDP estimate to 1.9%. Bank of America slashed its forecast to 1.5%.

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