Whoa... a lot to talk about. Like, the end of the world as we know it.
Let's begin with comedy. We'll come back to tragedy later.
On Wednesday, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was speaking at our alma mater, Georgetown University. She was asked about the funny numbers Argentina uses to report the rate of inflation there.
Her bureaucrats put the CPI at less than 10%. Independent analysts and housewives know it is a lie. Prices are rising at about 25% per year.
At a press conference, Fernandez de Kirchner defended herself artfully: "Really, do you think consumer prices are only going up at a 2% rate in the U.S.?"
Bingo. They all lie.
Two percent is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. But the quants are massaging the numbers so hard they're breaking their backs.
The real rate is probably closer to 5%. Maybe 10%. Who knows?
You might say it depends on how you mis-measure it. And it is in the interest of the government to put it on the low side. That way, you don't have to adjust your inflation-adjusted bonds quite as much. Or your Social Security payments.
Which just goes to show how fishy the entire system is. Fernandez de Kirchner is right. All the numbers are made up. So you may as well make them up to suit you. Lower the inflation reading, and you make the rest of your statistics look better too. Like your GDP growth. And productivity. And stock market returns.
Continue Reading: Food Stamp Nation