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The University of Michigan Thompson Reuters’ monthly index of consumer sentiment (whew that’s a mouthful!) was released this week … and 2014 is officially off on the wrong foot.

The widely watched index slipped from 82.5 in December to 81.2 last month … which means it’s probably time for somebody to blame the weather.

Actually, in this case weather could be a factor as unusually cold temperatures (no doubt caused by all that global warming) have likely caused a spike in home heating costs. That means low income families will be shelling out a larger percentage of their budgets on the power bill – those who aren’t receiving federal subsidies, that is.

Speaking of, “Republican” U.S. Reps. Peter King, Chris Gibson and Mike Fitzpatrick are currently petitioning U.S. President Barack Obama to raise government utility handouts from $3.5 billion in 2013 to $4.7 billion this year.  You know, because we’re in a “recovery” and everything.

Ah, the “New Normal.” You gotta love it …

Anyway, wanna dig (way) deeper into this month’s consumer confidence numbers? Our friends at Zero Hedge have you covered …