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Tapped Out

From Friday’s Wall St. Journal, pre-Katrina personal savings rate numbers from the US Department of Commerce went negative for the first time since the period after Sept. 11, 2001.

Personal Savings Rate-Jul2005In July, they consumed $59 billion more than they earned, at an annual rate, sending the personal-saving rate into negative territory for the first time since the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a Commerce Department report.

Calculated as a percentage of disposable income, personal saving was a negative 0.6% for the month, meaning households tapped their accumulated wealth in stocks and their homes or borrowed against it to keep spending and paying bills.

Interesting number, $59 billion in one month. Total outstandings on credit cards in the US are running at about $800 billion.

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