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American Opinion: On consumer spending

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

From The Associated Press

On consumer spending:

While it's popular to criticize Washington for spending insanely and refusing to live within a budget, the reality is that too many Americans aren't walking the tough talk in our own households.

According to a new FICO Inc. report, 25.5 percent of all consumers -- nearly 43.4 million people -- have credit scores of 599 or below, meaning they are bad lending risks and unlikely to get credit cards, car loans or mortgages. That number is up 2.4 million in the past two years as the economy has shed jobs and spawned foreclosures.

No wonder the country's financial recovery seems stuck in neutral. Consumers who can't borrow money can't buy houses and cars, make substantial home improvements, purchase big durable goods or, in some instances, even find affordable auto insurance. Big-dollar purchases like these fuel economic growth and give businesses reasons to hire workers and ramp up production. ...

These numbers provide a sobering backdrop to the nation's economic travails. If they continue, more Americans will not qualify for -- or be able to afford -- interest payments on goods or services they were able to buy a few years ago. And that will have a negative domino effect on the economy and thus on those with excellent or moderate scores. ...

Like it or not, this is the flip side of years of economic self-delusion. Consumer spending based on credit fueled the U.S. economic boom beyond what sensible financial planning would have dictated. ...

Credit scores aren't going to get better until two things happen -- the economy improves and Americans change the spending habits that helped create now-toppling sand castles of false prosperity. Yes, Washington must get the nation's financial house in order, but the rest of us also must walk the talk.

-- Dallas Morning News