In today's news: Credit is on the rise, customer service is plummeting, a carmaker calls for a bigger gas tax, Obama says don't panic, and Bernanke says don't relax just yet.
More auto loans and more student loans – and not credit cards – drove up consumer credit once again in April, the latest figures available. “Credit rose by $6.25 billion after a revised $4.82 billion gain in March,” Bloomberg reports.
What do Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines have in common? Nothing. According to Consumer Reports, Wal-Mart ranks last in customer service, while Southwest tops the list. And in a more general sense, “Americans are fed up with poor customer service,”MSNBC reports, “with 64 percent walking out of stores due to poor assistance and 67 percent hanging up on a call before their problems are even addressed.”
A carmaker calling for higher gas taxes? That’s like Macy’s calling for a higher sales tax. But, CNN reports, “General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said his company and his industry would be helped, not hurt, if consumers paid higher gas taxes.”
President Obama says the economy is facing “headwinds” but won’t head backward. “Obama said his administration was taking a range of steps to boost the economy, and that the nation is bound for long-term economic growth,” MSNBC reports.
More optimism from Washington leaders: “The Federal Reserve chairman is still optimistic that the recovery will pick up again in the second half of the year,” CNN reports. But Ben Bernanke also conceded, “The economy is still producing at levels well below its potential.”