Consumer spending accounts for roughly 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Without strength in this sector, the economy is rendered impotent. So it's been up to institutions such as the Federal Reserve to forge financial environments that are conducive to spending.
This is the reason the Fed reported it will keep interest rates low for the next two years, arguing the availability of credit as a prerequisite for heightened spending activity. However, not all economists agree on this matter, mainly considering the status of low interest rates for some time and the lack of activity they have stoked.
"I don't think lenders are going to be interested in extending a lot of debt in this environment," Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, told The New York Times in reference to recent Wall Street volatility, partisan bickering and European tumult. "Nor do I think households are going to be interested in taking on a lot of debt."
Even so, lenders and credit card issuers have been building greater confidence in consumers than businesses, as delinquency rates fall and credit balances rise. These conditions point to a general uncertainty among consumers that is unlikely to be mended through low interest rates.