Sunday, April 15, 2012

Large Increase in Spending on Proms Another Sign That the Economy is Stronger

And That Taxes Are Not Crushing Americans

Not having a teenage daughter or son means that The Dismal Political Economist does not spend a lot of time thinking about the high school Senior Prom.  But lots of people do have teenagers and so the story in USA Today on how much American families spend on a Prom is both interesting and revealing.  It turns out the amount is pretty high.

This year, families with teens are expected to spend an average of $1,078 on prom, up from $807 last year, according to data from a survey released today by Visa that includes results based on a thousand telephone interviews conducted at the end of last month.

One needs to take reports like this with the proverbial ‘grain of salt’ as many people really don’t know how much they are spending.  And in many cases the amount that is reported understates what the actual cost is, as small things necessary to attend a prom start to mount up.

But it is interesting that the survey showed a large increase for this year over last year.  Numbers like that are important indicators of an economy because they show that discretionary spending (prom spending is discretionary, right) is increasing, which reflects higher incomes and higher confidence by American consumers.

And while no one is suggesting higher taxes for low and middle income taxpayers, these numbers also suggest that Americans are not being crushed by an excessive burden of taxation.  After all, if a family has an extra $1,000.00 to spend on a Prom, it is hard for them to argue that high taxes are preventing them from meeting basic necessities.

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