This doesn't bode well for an economy that relies to a large extent on consumer spending. A new poll found four in 10 Americans have responded to the recent stock market volatility and unpleasant economic news by cutting back on spending over the past 60 days.

Women were more likely than men to say they've ratcheted down spending as are individuals ages 50 to 64. Interestingly, families making more than $75,000 a year are just as likely to have reduced spending as families making less than $30,000.

I can't say that our family has cut back much. But we are more carefully tracking the spending we do on our credit card each month. In an economy like this, I don't want to have to occasionally dip into savings here and there to pay the credit card bill in full.