Traders Richard Cohen (left) and Lewis Vande-Pallen work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 21. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

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Shoppers look at a display at the Dadeland Mall in Miami on Nov. 25. Princeton professor Sheldon Garon says Americans spend too much and save too little compared to Europeans and Asians. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

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Daniel Kryger, left, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. If the European Union can't agree on a plan, its debt crisis could lead to the kind of financial chaos that economists say surely would hurt the United States. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

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Workers process orders at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Swansea, Wales, as they prepare for their busiest time of the year. Matt Cardy/Getty Images hide caption

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned Congress that automatic across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon's budget would "invite aggression from U.S. adversaries." Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Supercommittee member, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., third from left, holds his hand out at a hearing Oct. 26. From left are, Supercommittee Co-Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Baucus, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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Workers prepare new Volkswagen Golf cars at a factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images hide caption

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Prices are about a third lower than they were in 2006, and they are continuing to drop in most cities. The National Association of Realtors says that this summer, prices fell nearly 5 percent compared with last year. David J. Phillip/AP hide caption

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Judy Moses, 71, prepares to be arrested during an Occupy Chicago protest against cuts to federal safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on Monday. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao meeting in Berlin on June 28. During Europe's economic crisis, both China and the United States have stayed mostly on the sidelines.

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