Can you buy ‘cake’ with Food stamps?

You have to wonder if America is heading for one of those really nasty periods of history:

There is a telling detail in the US retail chain store data for December. Stephen Lewis from Monument Securities points out that luxury outlets saw an 8.1pc rise from a year ago, but discount stores catering to America’s poorer half rose just 1.2pc. Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are booming. Sales of Cadillac cars have jumped 35pc, while Porsche’s US sales are up 29pc. Cartier and Louis Vuitton have helped boost the luxury goods stock index by almost 50pc since October. Yet Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have languished.

I haven’t seen any recent Gini numbers, but the trend is pretty obvious.

Or maybe not? The number for more recent years show that despite a peak in 2006, the coefficient has levelled off at around 47. The value of YoY comparisons is never quite clear. Perhaps it’s obvious that those with wealth are quicker to resume spending, while those without are more cautious, and continue paying down debt?

Suspect this will be one of my more ill considered posts.