The July 4th spending spree

Dear American Business:

Why does it always have to be about you?

There is scarcely a holiday left in the United States that isn’t used as a barometer for the economy. Christmas stopped being Christmas long ago and, now that I think of it, we should be getting the first of the retailing Christmas season stories any day now.

Today, the story is people are spending less money on the July 4th holiday. It comes from USA Today…

A fifth of Americans 21% said they don’t plan to celebrate Independence Day and those who are plan to spend less than last year, according to a survey released Sunday of a little more than 1,000 people by Visa.

That’s up from the 18% who said they weren’t joining in July 4 festivities last year. Those who plan to celebrate are spending an average of $191 on everything from travel to food to fireworks, down from $216 last year, according to a survey released Sunday by Visa.

On the other hand, nearly half of those celebrating will watch or light fireworks, according to a monthly consumer survey by the National Retail Federation. And close to 68% of consumers said they’ll host or attend a barbecue, the most in the nine-year history of the NRF survey.

Unpatriotic? Or smart for Americans’ wallets?

And there it is: The suggestion that it’s unpatriotic not to spend money.

First of all, who remembers what they spent on the 4th of July last year?

But the survey claims Midwesterners — that’s us — spend the most money on the 4th of July: an average of $211 per person who plans to “celebrate:” the 4th. It’s an odd statistic, considering that the history of the holiday is people having a picnic, maybe hit a beach, and then go watch some fireworks for free.

Are you spending over $200 a person in your family? This we have to all hear: how?