Shoppers check out during sales at Target in Braintree, Mass.(Photo: Allison Joyce, Getty Images)
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence tumbled in December, driven by
fears of sharp tax increases and government spending cuts set to take
effect next week.
The Conference Board's consumer confidence index
fell to 65.1 this month from 71.5 in November. That's the lowest level
The outlook for the next six months deteriorated to its lowest level since 2011.
Franco, the board's director of economic indicators, blames the
worsening outlook on the "fiscal cliff," the name for automatic spending
cuts and tax hikes that take effect Jan. 1 if the White House and
Congress can't reach a budget deal.
Expectations also plunged in
August 2011 when a fight over the federal debt limit brought the
government to the brink of insolvency.