Disappearing Economic Indicators

First M3, now . . .

Sometimes, when the data is (how shall we say this) less than delightful, politicians pressure bureaucracies to modify their models. This attempt to misrepresent reality goes back at least to JFK, and probably much further. It is not party specific, but is a characteristic of the all too common creature, Politico Disinguousi.

Yesterday, we discussed the unprecedented seasonal changes to CPI (Pre-Revision CPI: 9%) that managed to all but eliminate inflation reporting. And the absurdity that is the birth death adjustment has all but completely bastardized the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) data series. Of course, the cowardly scam that was the Boskin Commission was the most outrageous change in modeling over recent decades.    

More brazen politicos don’t even bother gunking up the models — they simply press to stop reporting the data. The most egregious example of this in the recent past was M3 reporting. We noted as it happened that once the Fed decided to save a few pennies stopping M3 reporting, you knew that M3 was going to skyrocket.

And so it has

Recently, there was an attempt to close Economicindicators.gov; That was a warning the economy was about to worsen. Thanks to readers and NY Senator Schumer, it was successfully beat back.

The latest such attempt at reducing economic information is brought to our attention by the WSJ’s Real Time Economics. They note that:

"A statement from the chair of the NABE’s statistics committee, Haver Analytics President Maurine Haver, asserted that “just when reliable and timely indicators are needed most, resources devoted to their production at our federal statistical agencies have been cut, requiring the termination of data series or a reduction in sample sizes used to produce the data.”

Ms. Haver catalogs the casualties of budgetary tightening, writing that “the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been forced to terminate all hours and earnings data reported for local areas as well as payroll employment for 65 small metro areas. The BLS International Price Program has also eliminated a number of series including prices of transportation services such as passenger air fares, air freight, and crude oil tanker freight. The Census Bureau will discontinue its Survey of Alterations and Repairs in May. The Bureau of Economic Analysis will reduce the level of industry detail in its county data and will eliminate the benchmark capital flow tables that provide baseline data on industry-by-industry investment by type of investment. This may only be the beginning.”

Let’s draw the appropriate conclusion from this: First M3 reporting stopped, and shortly thereafter, M3 skyrocketed. Next was the attempt to stop aggregating general economic information, and then we learned that GDP fell off the cliff.

Now comes the attempt to reduce the reporting of hours and earnings data. Gee, can you guess what coincidence is about to happen?

Let me end your suspense: Workers Get Fewer Hours, Deepening the Downturn.

"Throughout the country, businesses grappling with declining fortunes are cutting hours for those on their payrolls. Self-employed people are suffering a drop in demand for their services, like music lessons, catering and management consulting. Growing numbers of people are settling for part-time work out of a failure to secure a full-time position.

The gradual erosion of the paycheck has become a stealth force driving the American economic downturn. Most of the attention has focused on the loss of jobs and the risk of layoffs. But the less-noticeable shrinking of hours and pay for millions of workers around the country appears to be a bigger contributor to the decline, which has already spread from housing and finance to other important areas of the economy.

While official unemployment has risen only modestly, to 5.1 percent, the reduction of wages and working hours for those still employed has become a primary cause of distress, pushing many more Americans into a downward spiral, economists say.

Moreover, this slippage is a critical indicator that the nation may well be on the verge of a recession, if not already in one.

Last month, the hours worked by those on American payrolls dropped, compared with six months earlier, according to an index maintained by the Labor Department. The last time the index moved into negative territory was February 2001, when the economy was on the doorstep of recession. A similar slide emerged in August 1990, one month into what proved an even more severe downturn."

Now what were the odds of that ?



Can M3 be Saved?   

WTF? Feds Shutting Down Economic Data Site  http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/02/wtf-feds-shutti.html

A Slump in Economic Indicators   
Matt Phillips
April 14, 2008, 12:02 pm

Workers Get Fewer Hours, Deepening the Downturn
NYT, April 18, 2008

Some key statistics as prediction aids: M3
NowAndFutures.com, 2008

Alternate Data Series   
John William’s Shadow Stats

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    Seeing the Shadow stats for inflation, it looks like the true number is where it was before Volcker had the balls to put a stop to it. Now, we have Helicopter Ben in there and Volcker is calling this the “mother of all crises.” Yet the stock market trades at 1.4 times sales, where historic bottoms are .8 times…Nasdaq trades at 2 times sales and 34 trailing P/E using peak earning and margins. My conclusion? Market is being manipulated big time and will likely crash within the near future. (Look at Shanghai comp this year…down about 50% from its highs. Isn’t global growth responsible for the better than expected earnings we’ve seen from IBM, Google, Intel, etc?)

  2. Quiddity commented on Apr 18

    Considering the huge amount of money that’s being spent by the Feds (Iraq War in particular) one can only conclude that the reason these stats aren’t being collected/reported is not due to “budgetary tightening” but simply to hide the facts.

  3. blam commented on Apr 18

    Maybe the current administration has moved from simple dereliction of duty and criminal negligence to something more sinister. Will they actually leave next January ?

  4. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    “Will they actually leave next January ?”

    I dying laughing, because this is the same thing my right-wingnut brother said about Clinton in 2000.

  5. Thomas Paine commented on Apr 18

    I never thought I would see some of the things that are happening in Washington. I was never of the belief that government was great, it is lack of government that is great, but all of this reeks of the same problem. And, it is the same problem that exists on Wall Street. That is of an elitist culture that believes the minions are to be ‘managed’. That someone else knows best. And, that mindset involves deceit and attempted manipulation. Now, I don’t know how much of the changes in data has to do with that fact, but it doesn’t lessen the reality.

    That’s okay though. Because what those elitists don’t yet realize is that we are going to see a revolution. It may only be a revolution of ideas, but the scam is over.

  6. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    They are showing the Pope speeding in his motorcade to the airport…reminds me of a famous joke…the Pope is in a limo driving to the airport…he says to the driver “I have never driven a car…please let me try it.” The driver gets in the back and the Pope drives. He drives too fast and is pulled over by a cop. The cop sees the Pope and walks away and calls his chief…”chief, I pulled someone over that’s very important…I’m scared to give him a ticket”…chief says “who is it?” Cop says “I don’t know, but whoever he is, he has the Pope driving him.”

  7. rj commented on Apr 18

    Couldn’t we just do it privately? That way we can get real numbers and the person in charge of them won’t manipulate them for political reasons.

    All these things Barry that you’re talking about, the reason they’re there is to let people know what is going on at the macro level, and they can give a kick in the hindside to the people tasked with keeping the economy running smoothly (the Fed). With them gone, it just means things at this point and in the future will get worse, and no one will know about, which ultimately will lead to an even worse event I believe, cause no one was prepared.

  8. BG commented on Apr 18

    I think their approach is to do such a sorry job on collecting, analyzing and reporting the data, that people won’t oppose discontinuing it because of its uselessness. Then as reported above, the Government can basically do whatever they want to; which is basically what they do anyway.

    Steve Barry wrote:

    “Market is being manipulated big time and will likely crash within the near future.”

    Steve, I agree with the former comment but disagree with the latter. I am amazed how well the market has held up. If I went away for some time and came back with the financial cannons going off on a daily basis like they are now, I would expect to see the Dow well below the $10K mark. For me, that removes any doubt that there is a serious concerted effort to prop the markets up no matter what.

    I mean the Banks have written off Billions of dollars this week of which has made a new all-time low against the Euro almost everyday this week! We have no friends left in the Middle East and they are the people who now have all the money. They have already exploited us over the need for oil. They will next exploit us over the need for money. We are in a world of do-do.

    The financial system in the US is in the most convoluted shape it has ever been in. There are numerous BIG problems looming that will continue to play out over the next 25 years, most in a negative way. Most will end badly because the outcome has already been baked in the cake and it’s too late to have much of a meaningful solution without some group (or groups) getting hurt.

    Up until now, we have been the hunter; however, now we are the hunted.

    In my opinion, there will be no crash unless there is some exogeneous event that we don’t even want to think about which totally overwhelms the PPT. So far, they have done one hell of a job.

    So….with all things said, it’s no wonder the Government wants to hide as much of the damage as they possibly can.

  9. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18


    My gut tells me that manipulated markets must crash in the end.

  10. D. commented on Apr 18

    The market is going up because investors are being scared out of fixed income and they’ve been brainwashed into thinking that equities are the best place to protect themselves against inflation.

    The market is going to hold up until it is clearly visible that the credit crisis is hitting more sectors than the financials and that inflation expectations have not been priced into future earnings.

  11. pikertrader commented on Apr 18

    Next Bubble is Finance Text books, because they all have to be re-written. Now they have to explain that $12 billion write down and -1.02 Q1 loss, is BULLISH.

  12. D. commented on Apr 18

    Oh! And I forgot to mention how the mindset is stuck on buying the dips.

  13. Ivo commented on Apr 18


    the bad news is pouring every day – high inflation, unemployment, job losses, poor earnings, writedowns – but the market reacts to semi-positive news like JPM’s earnings dropping “only” 50% “as expected” and Intel beating earnings that were lowered briefly before that.

    Makes me sick. Is this Fed reflation finally kicking in? (Which is the same as manipulation). Now onder that commodities are rising then. USD should drop to €50c.

    Anything I am missing?

  14. kio commented on Apr 18

    When asked, each and every researcher will answer that observation and original data can not be replaced. At all.
    Open access to economic data provides a unique opportunity for everybody to apply own knowledge and experience and bring some value added – positive or negative.

    Even more important to get accurate data during periods of high changes because of higher dynamic range for studied variables and, thus, higher resolution.
    The Great Moderation has brought some deceleration in empirical economics partily due to the fact that small changes, charaterized by low Signal-to-Noise ratio, are harder to describe.

  15. Ivo commented on Apr 18

    Yet another example…

    Quote:”Citi stumbles, but stock spikes higher.

    Financial services giant records wider-than-expected loss and more than $13 billion in writedowns. But revenue surprise pushes shares up in pre-market.”

    I mean I see there is all technical reason for a bounce, but this…?

    Stock buyers = masochists?

  16. BG commented on Apr 18


    In the end, we’re all dead any way.

    You know (in my opinion), one of the biggest unspoken truths is the fact that a young person could put away a fairly small sum of money in a CD and retire a millionaire and escape all of this angst.

    It’s amazing that you never EVER hear anyone make such a statement. The simple reason is that the powers-to-be want that money invested in the stock market to feed that industry. They could not care less whether you ever get any of it back.

    I mean….that is the truth! For a person 25 years old, it doesn’t take that much money. Time truly is own their side. (This one goes in the deception file cabinet.)

  17. bonghiteric commented on Apr 18

    I propose two new ratios for financial textbooks:

    1.)Sentiment:change in book value–i.e. company writesdown $XX Bil and share price increases/decreases

    2.)Sentiment:fully diluted shares–i.e., company sells boatload of convertible preferred diluting existing common and share price increases/decreases

    Dilution and writedowns can’t be good things for the financials in the long term because I just don’t see the earnings power.

  18. Matt M. commented on Apr 18


    Who are the “powers-to-be”?

  19. Tom C commented on Apr 18

    A range bound market is to be expected post Naz/residential re crash. Buy when your stomach is churning and sell when you think your sh**t doesn’t stink. The government is NOT your friend. The party in power will not alter that simple fact.

  20. BG commented on Apr 18

    Government, Investment Banks and Wall Street

    It is no accident, that all the tax laws are written to steer you in that direction.

  21. D. commented on Apr 18



    But that means driving a Matrix and not a BMW… what are the Joneses going to think?

    On top of that GS will never want to hire me because they’ll see me as a no ambition pessimist…or with not enough skin in the game.

  22. Francois commented on Apr 18

    A democracy rest in good part on a well-informed citizenry.

    Keeping that in mind, these moves, as well as past 8 years history, should make the agenda of the politico-financial class painfully clear, shouldn’t it?

    The fix is in!

    I never thought i would write this but I must yield to the evidence.

  23. BG commented on Apr 18

    You know I have noticed in a couple of cases where the best entry point is when you start hearing the phrase “falling knife”.

    Buying within a few days of hearing this phrase in many cases is near the bottom at least temporarily. This is consistent with what Tom C. mentioned above.

  24. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    Fitch, Moodys and S&P all out negative on Citi…I say fade the futures…market closes lower on Friday with futures up so big.

  25. rj commented on Apr 18

    “You know (in my opinion), one of the biggest unspoken truths is the fact that a young person could put away a fairly small sum of money in a CD and retire a millionaire and escape all of this angst.”

    I put $5000 in a CD at Wachovia last fall, it’ll mature in June, and I stand to make $250 profit (5%). So 9 months to make 5%. And people acted like I got an awesome rate. Which we now all realize to mean that Wachovia wanted to tie up cash. I don’t mind, I’m making money off it, but it’s what they’re doing. If everyone though put their money in CDs, the interest rates would decline heavily, and it wouldn’t be worth it.

  26. Tinfoil Hat commented on Apr 18

    What’s next?

    The published IRS tax rates morph into:
    “just send us everything, and we’ll send you back your share”?

  27. BG commented on Apr 18

    Could “falling knife” be code for “market rally” to insiders?

    Purely ridiculous on the face of it; but, it has got me curious any way.

  28. Matt M. commented on Apr 18


    Hummmmm…..how doea that jibe with the taxation on Treasuries and Muni’s being state tax-free and state/federal free. Very mysterious….this dark cloud of the “powers-to-be” that force us into the equity markets. Make sure whatever you do in life…..take no responsibility for your own actions….that would be crazy!

  29. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    Shanghai comp down 50% from highs…yet BIDU, the “Chinese Google” is up 68% in a month. WTF is going on in this crazy market? It is really irrational.

  30. stuart commented on Apr 18

    What did Santelli say about the hammer and the sickle…. good post Barry…. doh, I mean Comrade.

  31. BG commented on Apr 18


    The magic of compound interest is what can make a young person rich over time. Ignore what everybody else is doing.

    As you know Wachovia also got their hand slapped this week. So I say, you are closer to being right than they are. You made 5% on your money. They lost on theirs.

  32. BG commented on Apr 18

    Matt M:

    All I am saying is that the tax laws are written to entice people to put their money into areas of greater and greater risk. That’s all fine and good. (I mean it has to be that way, right?)

    What I am saying is that a young people can place their money into near risk-free investments and be fat and happy for the next 40 years and also be fairly assured of the future value of that investment.

    For a YOUNG person, that sure beats the heck out of what all of us are going thru. The older you get that window of opportunity gradually closes and you are forced to take on more and more risk in hope of a higher return in order to catch-up.

    With the way the markets are now, you can very easily wind-up in a vicious cycle that many will never escape from.

  33. Rob Dawg commented on Apr 18

    The recession will not be reported but it will be blogged.

  34. michael schumacher commented on Apr 18

    and to think one of my friend’s steadfastly denies that any of the markets are manipulated……

    I’d have to say that today would be hard for him to continue that line of defense….

    If it was not abundantly clear that the Fed is buying stocks (individually) today is the biggest clue that they are,cough,C,cough (and have been).

    How many ETF’s is it buying as well????

    Effing ridiculous……..


  35. Steve Barry commented on Apr 18

    BBB- tranche of ABX at new lows…below 8 cents on the dollar. Rally stocks!!!!

  36. MarkTX commented on Apr 18

    Shanghai comp down 50% from highs…yet BIDU, the “Chinese Google” is up 68% in a month. WTF is going on in this crazy market? It is really irrational.

    Posted by: Steve Barry | Apr 18, 2008 9:35:06 AM

    To me, the stock indexes have become a disappearing economic indicator.
    (It only took a handful of stocks to move the NDX last year, and I don’t want to get in to what is classified as good news/earnings/yada yada.)
    I will let everyone judge for themselves what the indexes actually indicate for them personally and for everyone else as a whole, to me it does not spell prosperity as advertised.

  37. bluestatedon commented on Apr 18

    While it is true that gov’t manipulation of unpleasant data is a characteristic of administrations of all stripes, the current crew in possession of the White House and controlling the various regulatory agencies has raised it a high art unprecedented in our nation’s history. If the Bush administration is in possession of facts and data that do not support its political and ideological goals, there is nothing it will not do to quash, hide, fudge, alter, redact, stifle or distort what it doesn’t like. For example, I predict that eventually we will be told by another administration, even John McCain’s, that combat-related deaths for troops in Iraq are substantially greater than what they are officially reported to be now.

  38. Datanerd commented on Apr 18

    BG, I fail to see how a young person putting a “small” amount into CDs can turn this into $1 Million. Unless you think every young person has $100,000 laying about, and can put that into CDs for 40 years at 6% interest. I know I didn’t have the proverbial pot or window when I was 25, much less $100,000 laying about.

  39. Mike J commented on Apr 18

    “You know (in my opinion), one of the biggest unspoken truths is the fact that a young person could put away a fairly small sum of money in a CD and retire a millionaire and escape all of this angst.”


    That’s a little optimistic. Assuming you could get a bank to offer a 30-year CD at 5% (and also assuming you could roll all the interest payments at that same 5% rate), you’d have to plunk down $230,000 to have that million when the CD expires. How many 25 year olds do you know with that kind of cash? That is decidedly NOT a “fairly small sum of money” for any 25 year old I know.

  40. DonKei commented on Apr 18

    In the back of each Economist magazine are pages of economic statistics. My favorites involve tables detailing stock market performances across the globe, both in absolute terms in the currency in which the markets trade, and in terms relative to the dollar.

    This is helpful in understanding what is really going on. It might also be helpful to begin discounting, on a regular basis, stock market performance relative to dollar performance, i.e., inflation. If inflation is 9%, then the Dow is in heavily negative territory about now, inflation-adjusted. But, so too are the returns on most bonds. That 9% would give about a 6% per annum penalty for holding US treasuries right now.

    As Vincent Reinhart, in an article in the WSJ’s opinion pages notes, the last time the real fed funds rate was negative for a long time was in the 1970’s. (He was using the CPI at about 5% for his inflation numbers for today.)

    Well, we all know how the seventies thing worked out. Leisure suits, anyone?

    The article can be found here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120848098505325049.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

  41. Mike commented on Apr 18

    The “increasing cost” argument is ridiculous. Gathering data is easier, cheaper and faster than ever. Granted, the Fed and BLS have to contact banks and firms or require disclosure, but the technologies to manage and analyze this data is better (and cheaper) than ever.

  42. alexd commented on Apr 18

    I have seen some very good observations and some eloquent statements made but I am going to become an optometrist since I think some of us (and all to often that really means me!) are nearsighted.

    A market goes up when more people are buying and down when people are selling. Everything else is an excuse for why it does. Does anyone ask everyone why did you buy and then formulate and presents the results? Of course recognizing a house of cards is useful in placing your stops in liquid markets (illiquid markets are the bane of the sellers).

    It is always about herd mentality. If I was buying a business and would have to take my money from the actual results, then I am well would be concerned about the fundamentals (yep dividends are connected here) and some sort of projection of it’s market for the future but in the markets, price reflects perception of these things.

    Besides all the true things stated above about our deceptive government of self serving nere do wells there are real supply and demand questions pertinent to what is actually used by people.

    Anyone here read Malthus? I am always amazed that people think some type of tech fix is going to keep up forever with the demands of a burgeoning world population. Now I could be wrong but the last time I checked world population is growing faster than food and water (using current methods) is likely to keep up. Okay lets say we learn to desalinate seawater effectively (Dean Kammen might just have a useful solution here) and we figure out how to feed the approx 7 billion people who live on the third rock from the sun, how come no one does the math? What is the rate of doubling and how many tipping points (no not cow tipping) are going to be hit when population is 10 billion? 15 billion? 50 billion? We are going to have to figure out how to keep world population to a supportable level. We will likely have some fixes, some band aids on the problem but it is compounding.

    So you look at the long term and try to understand what is going to be in demand. Then play accordingly. On the short term though it is mostly the madness of crowds. I look at the fundamentals of stocks and really do try to find value, but it is so I have a list of possible investments to deal with when price seems to reflect that the crowd is starting to pile in (since some one called it a good value. This is called a breakout.

    Perhaps I will have to immigrate to the colonies on the outer planets just like the sign on the blimp suggests!

    Be well

  43. blin commented on Apr 18


    You could have traded dollars for euro’s and you would have been up about 10% over 9 months.

    Expect the dollar to lose 10 – 15% per year for the nxt 2-3 years.

    If inflation picks up, then your CD investment will be a loser when you factor inflation & currency depreciation.

  44. Jeremy commented on Apr 18

    Can you refresh my memory about some of the winning investment formulas in the 70s apart from long commodities.

  45. bsneath commented on Apr 18

    Off Topic, the inflation modeling is very suspect. Per chance could one surmise that the global warming modeling may be as well?

  46. michael schumacher commented on Apr 18

    Mish drank the “no money creation” kool aid yet again…

    BR what do you think about Mish’ statement that since”there is no evidence it is being done then it’s not happening” to paraphrase his response to the fed printing money……

    He is FOS in my book as he is looking for something that does not exist…actual proof that the fed is actively circumnavigating it’s own charter.

    What say you???


  47. BG commented on Apr 18


    You are correct; but with in your face numbers ($103,055 @ 6.0% tax deferred for 40 years gets you a cool $1M) is pretty powerful stuff for a young person with a little bit of ambition.

    Most people on this post spend that much money on toys and DON’T have a million dollars.

    Be careful. Don’t let the young guy show you up.

  48. alexd commented on Apr 18


    I believe two good investments from the 70’s were gold and Bmw Automobiles. You could drive the Bimmer and resell it for what you bought it for one year later. M class anyone?

  49. Darkness commented on Apr 18

    >The magic of compound interest is what can make a young person rich over time.

    Uh, inflation is also compounding at the same time. So, say I’m 25 and I put all my spare money away in an ING CD at 4.25% (like I did last year after hunting around for a deal). Well, inflation was 5.0+% (or maybe 9% even) during that time. I may reach a million dollars by the time I’m 60, but heck, the way things are going, a cup of coffee is going to run my $50, so my million isn’t going to do much for me. It sounds like a lot, but you’re talking 35 years of inflation here.

    I WAS a millionaire once. Before the Euro, I took out the max from an ATM two days in a row in Italy. Big deal being a millionaire when the money isn’t worth anything. That’s exactly how it will be when I’m 60.

  50. winslow commented on Apr 18

    thomas paine you are correct. As I get older and see the long-term pattern of corruption in government and business. Is it just a “plan” or or they really that incompetent? What I am really worried about is a huge drop in the market. We don’t seem to have leadership to change our course.

  51. BG commented on Apr 18


    You are absolutely right about inflation.

    I just figure having a million dollars at 65 is better than not having it at all.

    I, too suspect, it won’t buy you very much the way things are headed.

  52. dug commented on Apr 18

    Real Estate was another investment from the 70’s that I remember. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to work very well this time around.

    The one I was able to take advantage of was taking out subsidized student loans and putting them into CD’s paying double digit interest (my first lesson in investing). The absolute last time I got anything from the government that they hadn’t taken out of my pockets first.

  53. DonKei commented on Apr 18


    I was a college student in the late seventies, early eighties, so I didn’t have any money to invest. But from looking at the charts, gold would have been a really good investment, had you bought in about 1973 and sold in about 1981. Stocks, not so. It was the same thing as is happening now, except that that devaluation of the currency hit w/ a thunderclap when Nixon said in 1973 “Sorry, we’ll no longer trade $35 for an ounce of gold.” It was the beginning of the fiat currency era of today and led to the collapse of Bretton Woods, the currency exchange system instituted after the second World War.

    I just know that during that era I couldn’t get a job doing anything, and flipping burgers would have been better than selling my plasma for $20 a pop.

    I eventually figured that the military was the only growth industry and joined the Army, and then got a commission through ROTC, and actually had enough money to buy a beer on friday nights, ocassionally.

    I decided to give it up a few years later when George Sr. decided that my blood was worth less than Iraqi oil. I guess I’d had enough of trading blood for money, and said farewell to arms.

    But God Bless those guys laying it on the line now. I hope all that are left make it back in one piece. They deserve better than this.

  54. Todd commented on Apr 19

    BG, please tell me where I can find some of those magic CD’s so I can escape all this angst.

    Last I looked the best I can get is with a 3% handle. Applying the rule of 72, that’s 24 years for my money to double, not to mention it all being taxable. Not to mention that you’ll most certainly lose ground to inflation.

  55. RNL commented on Apr 21

    It’s Orwellian. Change the language, and you can remove dangerous ideas and actions.

    Stop reporting economic data and you can try to remove dangerous ideas and actions as well. How can you make appropriate decisions (as business, investor, or consumer) or take organized action (strikes, protests, etc.) without data like inflation, jobs, trade gap, etc.? Only small, localized (and more easily controlled) groups would be able to; stuff organized at the state/national level would be much less likely.


  56. Eric commented on Apr 21

    Barry, thank you for shining light on this issue.

    I would like to see the next administration use the issue of transparency to create a 10 year vision to build a massive, real-time, completely open, data warehouse for all sorts of business transactional information.

    Web services and open source software make this system doable and would create the economies of scale to enable all government reporting requirements to be automated and reduce the burden on business and on the environment for all that paper.

    The implementation should be a massive works program like the WPA. We could use such an initiative to develop technology skills for many of the thousands of people left in the cold from globalization.

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