For U.S. consumers, America is on sale

NEW YORK (Oct. 4) - There has never been a better time to be a consumer. America is on sale.

The Great Recession has caused massive job losses and hardship for millions, but it has also fostered a shoppers' paradise. Anyone who still has the means to spend can find unheard-of deals.

Prices on everything from clothes to coffee to cat food are dropping, some faster than they have in half a century. Items rarely discounted -- like Tiffany engagement rings -- are now. The two biggest purchases most people make -- homes and new cars -- are selling at steep price reductions.