Consumer spending boosted slightly by 'clunkers' program; income and inflation flat in July

There were no morsels for the inflation hawks to nibble on in July's personal income and consumer spending report. Both income and inflation were flat, while consumer spending rose 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected personal income to rise 0.1 percent and inflation to be flat in July; the survey also expected consumer spending to rise 0.3 percent. The U.S. savings rate did fall in July to 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent in June, but that's still well above the rate for the previous expansion, when the savings rate went negative -- meaning Americans actually spent more money than they earned.