By now, you are probably tired of reading me rail on and on about how government data fails to accurately portray the reality of inflation, and therefore GDP. I don’t have particularly good things to say about NFP data either.
You should not, however, believe that such accounting legerdemain is confined to the USA. Over the weekend, an article in the UK Telegraph noted that The Real Cost of Living Index: 9.5 per cent; it had the subheading: "Why official figures don’t tell half the story."
It is not that there is any grand conspiracy going on in either the US or the UK. It is just that the official measurements of inflation fail to capture the reality experienced by its citizens. Over the years, the politcos in charge have directed the statisticians who run BEA, BLS, Census, etc. to alter the models they work with. Over the years, this has worked to incrementally to show more of the good stuff (employment and growth), and less of the bad stuff (inflation, unemployment) than would be warranted by an truly objective read of the data.
Whenever you read criticism of legitimate critique of government data as "tinfoil hat/conspiracy theorists," you know you are reading a disingenuous hackery. I do not know any credible BLS critic who thinks some dark cabal is pulling the levers to generate whatever numbers they want — instead, it is a case of what John Williams of shadowstats.com calls "Pollyanna creep."
Here is your Ubiq-cerpt™:
"Rising food and fuel prices, as well as increased taxes and other
household bills, mean the average family must cope with inflation that
is twice as high as official estimates, according to new research by
The Daily Telegraph and moneysupermarket.com, the price comparison
website. Taking all these factors into account, the Real Cost of Living
Index (RCLI) is rising at 9.5 per cent.
No wonder hard-working families wonder how the Retail
Price Index (RPI) can be only 4.2 per cent and the Government’s
preferred measure of inflation – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) –
claims inflation is only three per cent.
explanation is that CPI does not include council tax or mortgage costs
– which are major outgoings for many families. Both costs are included
in the RCLI, which sets out to give realistic weightings to rising
costs, as experienced by an average family."
Interesting stuff . . .
via the Telegraph
The Real Cost of Living Index: 9.5 per cent
Telegraph,11:23pm BST 13/06/2008
British families fear inflation is running out of control
Edmund Conway, Economics Editor
Telegraph, 1:27am BST 13/06/2008
HOUSEHOLD BILLS http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?menuId=244&menuItemId=10151&view=PICHEADLINESUMMARY&grid=F7&targetRule=14