Les autres 30% des Etats-Unis

NEW HAVEN – Le consommateur américain n'est plus que l'ombre de son ancien Moi tout-puissant. La consommation personnelle aux Etats-Unis a progressé à un taux de seulement 1,5% par an en termes réels (indexé sur l'inflation) au deuxième trimestre de 2012 – et ce n'était pas une aberration. Malheureusement, cela confirme une tendance à la faiblesse qui se manifeste depuis le début de 2008.

Au cours des 18 derniers trimestres, la croissance annuelle de la demande réelle de consommation n'a été en moyenne que de 0,7% par rapport à une tendance de croissance de 3,6% dans la décennie qui a précédé l'éclatement de la crise. Jamais le consommateur américain n'a été si faible pendant si longtemps.

La cause n'a rien de secret. Les consommateurs ont fait des paris énormes sur les deux bulles du logement et du crédit. Des politiques monétaires et réglementaires aventureuses ont transformé l'humble demeure en guichet automatique, permettant aux familles de retirer des dollars sur ces bulles pour vivre au-dessus de leurs moyens.

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