I would be surprised if it wasn't increased in later reports. But this was a large drop, especially in the consumer area. I have to wonder if high energy prices and increasing interest rates are having a serious impact.
Neither do I. These guys know jack about macro-economics. Or worse -- they know and don't care. Every time I see Treasury Secretary Snow I cringe. He was on Bloomberg yesterday and the inteviewer asked why a majority of Americans are disheartened by the economy. Instead of answering the question, Snow attacked the poll's methodology. And he actually has a degree in economics so he has to know the underlying problems.
I have no idea what has happened to moderate Republicans. While the party as a whole use to listen to them, it seems that now the main requirement for Republican membership is lock-step reiteration of talking points that have no basis in reality. Anyone who brings up this point (the current account deficit) is labeled a traitor to the cause.
The markets have also become compacent with this issue, largely because nothing has happened dispite the problem getting more severe in its size. That doesn't mean something won't happen, only that nothing has happened yet.