How the US Government Manipulates Inflation DataEconomics / Inflation Feb 02, 2011 - 02:21 AM GMT
The PCE bothered me yesterday.
The Government told us that the PCE core price index for December was 0% - no inflation at all. I found that to be incredible - as in not credible at all and then Tusked asked me how long the Bernank could keep justifying his rampant money printing with fake government data, to which I responded: "I had many derogatory things to say about that but I was literally so sickened by that BS that I couldn’t bring myself to comment on it so I just left it alone but it’s a very sad joke that our government can tell us that there was no inflation in December while the whole planet is falling apart, isn’t it?"
Fortunately, there was a helpful article in the WSJ by Brett Arends that pointed out that the way the government justifies their low inflation figures is through "substitution and harmonics," a topic expert Government BS detector, Barry Revolts had touched on as well. As Barry says:
Harmonics asks the question: "How much of a product's price increase is a function of "inflation," and how much is quality improvement?" Thus, the entire late 1990's concept of Hedonics is premised upon a flawed assumption: that quality is static. Hedonics is a variation of the old trick of comparing the present with the past, instead of the present. Measuring quality improvements is a distraction from the real measure of inflation: the purchasing power of a dollar.
Hedonics opens the door to producing magical results: a lower inflation rate with generally rising prices, a higher growth rate although the economy may be weaker, and a higher productivity number, although productivity would have been declining without the Donica imputations.
What BS, right? Well, when I get mad, I do research and when my research uncovers something - I make an electronic puppet show:
Forward this to your friends and Congresspeople - lets try to get our government to get real!
Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing -- which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks). Visit: Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com)
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