I just moved into a new apartment. I have a lot of old furniture. I got rid of a few pieces and the others need to be replaced — quickly. And yet, I hesitate about reaching into my pocket to pay for it.

Maybe I'm just cheap. But I don't think so. I'm guessing it's the concern that rises up inside of me — when I listen to the news, from listening to people on the subway. That for every story I hear about job creation, I hear another one about Russian war drums.

Do these affect purchases at the consumer level? Do they get to me? Maybe (probably) they do.  Earlier this week we published a story that the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index hovered at below 80 percent in February, compared to 144.7 at the height of the 2000 dot-com boom. There's either a deep-down distrust (of what: the country's ability to sustain growth? the government numbers men? ourselves?), despite booming stock prices.

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