Sentiment falls to lowest ebb since December 2009

Amidst the debt ceiling debate and a languishing economy, consumer sentiment dropped to its lowest level in nearly two years, according to a new survey.

Consumer Reports recently announced that the consumer sentiment index fell to 43.4 this month, down precipitously from 48.5 in July. The figure is based on the percentage of people who believe they're better off financially today compared to a year ago.

"The debt ceiling debate in Washington focused the consumer's attention fully on the dire state of the economy, leaving many in a dispirited mood," said Ed Farrell, director of the National Research Center for Consumer Reports. "Americans are facing real financial difficulties due to weak employment, which is a key impediment to an economic recovery. This is reflected in nearly every measure of the consumer's experience."

One of the few positive indicators from the survey was the finding that more consumers plan on increasing their purchases at retail stores. This may not be the case among individuals with bad credit, however, as higher interest makes buying with credit cards more difficult to afford. Consumers may be able to lower their interest rates by seeking out a credit attorney, who can help repair a score that's been adversely affected by unfair or erroneous credit reporting.