SPENDING UP: Consumers boosted their spending 0.7 percent in February, the best showing in four months. But more than half the gain reflected higher prices including a jump in gasoline costs.
INCOMES SLUGGISH: Incomes rose a more modest 0.3 percent in February. After taking inflation into account, incomes after paying taxes actually fell 0.1 percent.
OUTLOOK: Economists are worried that the big surge in energy costs will drain more than half of the extra cash Americans are getting from a cut in their Social Security taxes. This will lessen the boost the economy will receive from the tax cut.