NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wealthy Americans are becoming increasingly worried about the country’s economic outlook, and their reluctance to spend and invest is hurting growth, according to a survey released Monday.
As oil prices boil to new records and Iraq continues to appear unstable, McDonald Financial Group’s Affluent Consumer Confidence Index slid to 48 in the third quarter from 61 in the July poll.
More alarming, 42 percent of the people surveyed said the economy was headed in the wrong direction, almost double the number who thought so just three months ago.
Is it simply higher gas and heating oil prices that are worrying wealthy Americans? Or do they see something else going on — like massive budget deficits as far as the eye can see, a lack of any remaining fiscal or monetary policy ammunition, a massive debt overhang for consumers, and a looming bubble in real estate markets?