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Washington (AFP) – The U.S. economy grew more slowly than previously thought in the 2013 fourth quarter, largely due to weaker consumer spending, official data released Friday showed.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product growth in the final quarter was at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, revising its initial estimate of a 3.2 percent GDP expansion.

Analysts had expected a downward revision, but forecast a less sharp drop to 2.6 percent.

The report showed the world’s largest economy had significantly lost momentum even before a series of weaker economic data in January and February, which some say are due to severe winter weather in much of the country.

The economy grew at a robust rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter.

Most of the fourth-quarter growth revision came from weaker than first estimated growth in consumer spending, which drives the bulk of U.S. economic activity. Spending was revised down to 2.6 percent from the prior estimate of 3.3 percent.

Photo: John Moore via AFP

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Reprinted with permission from The American Prospect

The barriers to amending the Constitution are so high that I've long thought it pointless to pursue any reform that way. But after four years of Donald Trump, I've changed my mind. In fact, I'm suffering from a bout of what Kathleen Sullivan in 1995 in these pages called "constitutional amendmentitis."

Sullivan—later dean of Stanford Law School—used the term for conservatives' feverish advocacy of amendments in the mid-1990s. The amendments would have, among other things, imposed a balanced federal budget, limited congressional terms, authorized laws banning flag-burning, given the president a line-item veto, and outlawed abortion. It was a good thing those amendments didn't receive the necessary two-thirds approval in both houses of Congress, much less ratification by three-fourths of the states.

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