According to a new report from Mastercard, Americans spent more on Christmas shopping this year than they have in six years – just one more sign that the MAGA economy is putting out some impressive, if not unprecedented numbers despite all of the skepticism from the usual suspects. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report said that American shoppers spent more than $850 billion online and in the brick-and-mortar marketplace, pushing sales to a 5.1% increase over 2017.
“A robust shopping season from before Thanksgiving through Christmas has given retailers much to cheer about this year,” the company said in a press release. “Online shopping also saw large gains of 19.1 percent compared to 2017.”
Senior Mastercard advisor Steve Sadove said that astounding figures were a credit to how confident Americans were feeling about the economy and their own 2019 prospects.
“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” Sadove said. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”
If there was any weak spot in the holiday consumer picture, it was to be found in traditional department stores, where Americans spent less than they did in recent years. However, Mastercard’s report said that had more to do with store closings than anything else; when given the opportunity, shoppers gladly went to those stores’ websites and spent plenty of money getting the wares they couldn’t find in person.
Though the economy remains stronger than it has been in recent memory, some warning signs have experts on edge. Not least of these was the Dow Jones’ extraordinary fluctuation in December. Some wrote this volatility off as natural “corrections” after one of the biggest bear markets in history; others blamed the president for giving investors mixed signals as it pertained to the ongoing trade war with China. Most economists are in agreement, though, that 2019 is unlikely to replicate 2018 when it comes to strong economic growth. Increases in federal interest rates, uncertain global forecasts, and rising real estate prices could all contribute to a slowdown.
But there is perhaps no greater threat to our current prosperity like the incoming Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
In an interview with CNBC last week, Steve Okun of consulting firm McLarty Associates said that with Democrats focused on impeaching President Trump, their partisan machinations could throw the markets into a tailspin.
“Democrats will do something on impeachment next year,” Okun said. “Washington is going to shut down, literally, because the president is not going to be able to focus on anything but that. I think that is a huge risk going into 2019.”
Are the Democrats willing to sacrifice a booming economy for the sake of putting Donald Trump into a Washington show trial?
Do you even have to ask?