President Bush made a statement from the South Lawn of the White House this morning, telling Americans that their economic stimulus rebate checks will start going out Monday ahead of schedule. American consumers might well need the comfort of some extra cash: A Reuters/University of Michigan survey released today registered consumer sentiment at its lowest level since March 1982.
The consumer sentiment index fell from 69.5 in March to 62.6 in April. That's a good bit worse than the experts were predicting, as a Reuters poll of economic analysts had forecast a 69.0 reading.
And don't expect Bush's remarks to make much of a difference. The survey also found that only 3 in 10 consumers plan to spend their rebate checks this year.