The United States fell to sixth place in the World Economic Forum's 2006 global competitiveness rankings, ceding the top place to Switzerland .... In a report released Tuesday, the World Economic Forum said Washington's huge defense and homeland security spending commitments, plans to lower taxes further, and long-term potential costs from health care and pensions were creating worrisome fiscal strains.But U.S. consumers don't seem to be glum. In fact, the newest consumer confidence index makes them seem reasonably optimistic:
U.S. consumer confidence rose more sharply than expected in September as energy costs fell and job prospects improved slightly, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Conference Board ... said its index of consumer sentiment climbed in September to 104.5, up from an upwardly revised 100.2 in August.