Consumers spending less, what can candidates do?

By Jon Kalahar - bio | email

FLOWOOD, MS (WLBT) - Spending across the country was at its lowest rate in four years last month according to the federal government. So with the election just four days away, which candidates will make a difference for Mississippi's economy?

Katrina Rankin and her family were out shopping Friday. But unlike trips past, they are being selective about certain purchases.

"I try to budget, but if I need it, you know, we go out and buy it," said Rankin.

Rankin said the recent drop in prices at the pump have helped. But judging by the mostly empty parking lot, the price drop hasn't solved everything.

"To me, we must reign in spending," said Ronnie Musgrove, candidate for U.S. Senate.

At Thursday's Hob Nob Mississippi, the candidates for United States Senator took turns voicing their concerns and solutions. The Democratic challengers focused on help for small business.

"No more breaks for Wall Street and no more big tax incentives for big corporations," said Musgrove.

"One month of how much it is costing us to fight the war in Iraq, which is $12 billion, within three years I can guarantee you there will no longer be an abandoned store front in any downtown in Mississippi," said Erik Fleming, candidate for U.S. Senate.

Mississippi's two current senators in Washington voted against the bailout plan, and are looking to closely guard the process of slowing rebuilding the economy back.

"We will monitor very carefully what the federal agencies are doing. They have the authority to use this money to shore up the economic situation here at home and may be get us on a path to recovery," said Senator Thad Cochran, (R) Mississippi.

"Let's not have to think about what a 60 vote filibuster proof majority in the United States Senate might mean to job creation and to the future of families in Mississippi," said Senator Roger Wicker, (R) Mississippi.

But for the Rankins, they only have one message for the candidates.

"Think about the poor, the middle class," said Rankin.

Economic experts are predicting consumer spending to drop off even more in the next few months.