November retail sales were a bit stronger than expected (+.7% vs. +.6%), but the overall picture of retail sales was unchanged. What we have seen in recent years is retail sales growth of about 4% per year, and today's report didn't change that. If anything, it is significant that retail sales growth has not declined this year given the end of the payroll tax holiday and the rise in some marginal tax rates.
Adjusted for inflation, retail sales have been increasing steadily for almost 18 months.
One thing is now clear: higher taxes, more government spending, more emergency employment benefits, and more income redistribution are not going to do the job. We need policies that encourage risk-taking and work; policies that increase the after-tax rewards to risk-taking and work, not policies that reward caution and leisure.