Why Consumers Aren't So Frugal After All

At least one CEO is optimistic about consumers pulling out their wallets again

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American consumers have an identity crisis. For years they bought more than they could afford, using easy credit to fill the gap. Spending plunged during the recession, of course, as the nation's shoppers started to pay down record levels of debt. But after a couple years of retail abstinence, consumers seem itching to buy again--even though economists say they need to save more and spend less. At this year's Milken institute Global Conference I spoke about consumer habits with Martin Franklin, CEO of Jarden Corp., which makes a range of consumer goods including sports equipment, kitchen appliances and playing cards. Here's a video of our chat: