With the Christmas retail sales season off to its worst start in years, the search is on for explanations. Some blame a still-sluggish economy–though Gross Domestic Product did actually pick up a bit last quarter, despite the federal government shutdown.
Others cite a consumer revolt against the intrusion of Black Friday into Thanksgiving–but that mistakes cause for effect, as retailers started early in anticipation of a tough season.
A likelier explanation is that the shock of Obamacare prices is helping to drive a collapse in consumer confidence that has occurred despite the soaring stock market and that is hurting retail badly.
The federal Obamacare website still is not working properly, and many state websites are still dysfunctional. When the sites do work, people can see the prices. And they notice that they will often be paying hundreds of dollars more per month, and thousands per year.
So instead of saving $2500 per year, as President Barack Obama promised, many may be paying that much–and more–in excess of what they now pay for heath insurance. In many cases, patients will face larger deductibles as well.
Thinking about the huge dent that higher insurance will put in household budgets still struggling under the weight of consumer debt will certainly have many families thinking twice about splurging this year.