Saturday, November 3, 2007

What is the: CPI, PPI, etc?

"Yesterday, as the dollar fell to new record lows and oil and gold prices surged to new highs, Wall Street remained fixated on wholly meaningless government data that managed to report the lowest inflation in the last half century. ... With oil priced at almost $100 per barrel, gold futures trading over $800 per ounce, the dollar hitting record lows, and the Fed printing money like its going out of style, the government has the nerve to claim that current inflation is the lowest it has been in half a century. Unbelievable. ... My guess is that inflation is actually running at an annualized rate closer to 10%", Peter Schiff at, 1 November.

"'The government numbers are so below what people are actually experiencing that they no longer have any credibility', says Walter J. Williams, an iconoclastic economist who has no academic appointment but can at least claim an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. ... Williams thinks the official understatements are deliberate. Reporting accurate figures would cost the goverment more in Social Security benefits, which are pegged to the CPI . and more in interest in inflation-protected bonds. ... 'Absurd', says Labor Statistics spokesman Patrick Jackman ", Forbes, 12 November.

Also reducing reported inflation increases tax revenues as it reduces annual tax bracket adjustments, see my 5 October post . That Williams has no academic post means nothing to me. I have none. I've seen plenty of stupid and venal academics. John Kenneth Galbraith was a Harvard professor. So? Supposedly, Helicopter Ben (HB) got 1590 on the SATs, big deal. HB went to Harvard and was a Princeton professor. So?

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