This Year's Tax Bite Is Gnawing A Hole In Consumers' Wallets

Don't count on the "peace dividend" of lower oil prices to stimulate consumption, advises economist Richard B. Berner of Salomon Brothers Inc. It's being largely offset by tax bites that are already eating into consumer incomes. While tax cuts have boosted take-home pay in prior recessions, Berner calculates that tax hikes of close to $34 billion will trim disposable income by nearly 1% this year.

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