When Stimulus Spending Winds Down, Will U.S. Businesses Step in For Tapped-Out Consumers?

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[Editor's Note: This is Part II of a two-part story that looks at the prospects for the U.S. economy in 2010. It's part of Money Morning's annual "Outlook" forecasting series. In the days and weeks to come, watch for additional installments addressing the 2010 outlook for gold, oil, banking, foreign markets and other key topics. Part I of the U.S. economy forecast story appeared yesterday (Tuesday). ]

It's no secret that government spending has been fueling much of the growth in the $14.2 trillion U.S. economy. And if consumers aren't ready for the handoff when that stimulus spending winds down – and they certainly don't appear to be – it will be up to the U.S. business sector to carry the ball.

And it's not at all clear that Corporate America is ready, willing or able to fulfill that role.