American consumers can't save the world economy

Sometimes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seems like Dudley Do-Right, the earnest yet socially awkward cartoon Mountie forever rescuing damsels in distress. Bu these days, as far as the American consumer is concerned, Geithner is no position to promise much help to anyone.

According to Reuters, Geithner will tell members of the G7 later today that "they can no longer rely on a free-spending U.S. consumer to fuel global expansion." Though there are some signs of improvement, such as unexpectedly strong housing sales last month, consumers continue to keep a tight grip on their wallets.