Over at Calculated Risk, the blog's eponymous author takes a hard look at just how much the housing price slump is likely to drag on personal spending during 2008. His figure? $180 billion. So-called "personal consumption expenditures" -- that's econo-speak for discretionary spending by consumers, which is often the lifeblood of much of the retail industry -- rose by $508 billion between 2006 and 2007 alone. The blog's author argues that a $180 billion dollar drain might equate to a drop in PCE from 2007 to 2008, in inflation-adjusted terms -- but says that the drop won't be large enough to push the U.S. into a severe recession. Sounds geeky, we know; but the thing is, the writer at Calculated Risk has been pretty much spot-on since he started writing at the blog three years ago. We're just sayin'.