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How the US Government Manipulates Inflation Data

Economics / Inflation Feb 02, 2011 - 02:21 AM GMT

By: PhilStockWorld


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleThe 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 (, 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 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 (

© 2011 Copyright  PhilStockWorld - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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