School children get lesson in economics

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"I don't want to spend more than $20 on a backpack," said a mother to her daughter.

The hunt for bargains is more intense than in the past. The National Retail Federation says back to school sales are down almost eight percent this year. The average family is spending $46 less than last year.

"We're still running at confidence levels that are consistent with the worst of the recessions of the early 1980s. Consumer spending just isn't there," said Diane Swonk, from Mesirow Financial.

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