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Three percent more people filed for unemployment last week than the week before, and Retail Sales show a -0.4% drop in January and December’s reading was also revised down below zero, showing that consumers are spending less money at the store than they were a year ago.

Speaking of spending less–or not–both Congress and the Senate have approved a measure to increase the debt ceiling for the next 12 months, during which time, I am sure the government will come to an agreement on how it can curtail its spending and not play by the same rules as you and me.  And speaking of me and government rules, my federal income tax liability went up $15,000 this year because they took away or severely limited many of my deductions (you know, like having children and certain business expenses).  I am not complaining because I think that to do so just adds insult to injury.  No, I think that instead I’ll visit a few national parks this weekend and honor the great presidents of the past.