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Will cutting credit card rates drive consumer spending?

Nov 04, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

While consumer debt, high unemployment and weak consumer spending continue to hold the economic recovery in neutral, policymakers may be overlooking a clear way to get the market moving, according to CNN Money contributor Brendan Coffey. Credit card interest rates have been rising steadily in recent years, according to the source, and while consumers continue to pay off their debts in larger numbers, rates are hindering them from spending much of their dispensable capital. "That lack of spending is a problem for economic growth," Coffey points out. "The economy was bolstered during the third quarter by a surprisingly strong surge in consumer spending - up 2.4 percent - but we still have a long way to climb out of the sluggish economy." Without a massive government stimulus to drive hiring and investment, he adds, it falls on consumer spending to spearhead the recovery. Advocacy groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business may agree with this assertion, as they have consistently argued that weak sales have been hindering hiring in the small business sector, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of all news jobs.