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A VERY GRINCHY CHRISTMAS….There’s just no way to sugar coat this. Retail sales fell off a cliff this year:

When gasoline sales are excluded, [retail sales fell] 4% in December…. The holiday retail-sales decline was much worse than the already-dire picture painted by industry forecasts, which had predicted sales ranging from a 1% drop to a more optimistic increase of 2.2%.

….A final burst of spending retailers hoped for last weekend never came. Shopper traffic fell 27% compared with the same time last year, while sales declined 5.3%, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales in retail outlets nationwide.

Christmas this year was pretty grim in China too. And they’re expecting worse next year.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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