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Wed Dec 18, 2013, 07:30 AM

AP survey: US income gap holding back economy

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AP_ECONOMY_SURVEY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-18-00-02-24

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn't bad just for individuals.

It's hurting the U.S. economy.

So says a majority of more than three dozen economists surveyed last week by The Associated Press. Their concerns tap into a debate that's intensified as middle-class pay has stagnated while wealthier households have thrived.

A key source of the economists' concern: Higher pay and outsize stock market gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Yet these households spend less of their money than do low- and middle-income consumers who make up most of the population but whose pay is barely rising.

"What you want is a broader spending base," says Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, a financial advisory firm. "You want more people spending money."

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