Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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I like smart people.

Most of my friends I think are, of course, smart people.

These are people from coast to coast, border to border. Now by smart I don’t mean “I chose not to join MENSA because it bores me” kind of folks, but people who hold an average job doing average things getting by with average salaries while living pretty average lives. I guess we are kinda boring and that works for us. I think in a way “we” represent a cross-section of Americans. There really isn’t a common thread among us of race, economic status, or political ideology. We have just sorta’ developed over the years into a loose circle of communicators.

So when I talk with these people, my first question over the past three years or so has been “I hear the economy is improving – what is it like where you are?”.

In this day and age of MSM marketing (i.e. The Mainstream Media panders to the audience which consumes it. Therefore “Journalistic unbiased reporting” is always for sale to the highest bidder) the United States Economy is either “Doing great!  Look at the high stock market levels” or “teetering on the edge of immediate abyss which the new Congress is going to fix for us all” – just depends on the alphabetic abbreviation (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) marking the number on the ol’ TV/Radio dial.

Contrary to the spoonfed spin from the aforementioned “journalistic” sources, I’m hearing that no matter where one resides in North America – the Economy sucks and seems to be in a state of quickly-declining-increasingly-confusing-regulatory-nightmarish-funk. Well to be honest I do have one Liberty-lovin’ acquaintance living in complete Freedom who not only doesn’t care about MSM and happily lives her days among a community of like-minded folks, but inspires many of us to learn more about what living freedom really means. I imagine she rolls her eyes as the rest of us “beat the drum for freedom” while she is busy living it – however I digress.

Most Media sources would point to the CPI (Consumer Price Index), remind us that in the month of November CPI only rose 0.1%, and that shows how great everything is.

What my friends and I know however is that CPI does not include all pertinent data for those of us who actually are trying to calculate just what is really happening in our regions.

First, CPI does not include the two “F’s” : Fuel and Food. Apparently when the “smart” people of .gov got together to come up with the indicator which instructs the Federal Reserve that more/less inflation is needed through the manipulation of interest rates, they were all on “sustainable local diets” that did not require transportation. The only logical reason my circle of buddies can come up with?  Either the brainiacs had some sort of “Amish Delivery System” utilizing draft horses that survived on air molecules or the Legislators were literally sheep grazing on the White House lawn much as they are today.

If we look at the  CPI for the month of November in the MSM, +0.1% just seems a splinter that could not possibly affect anything. Until we realize that contained with the official numbers are some pretty scary facts staring right at us.  Now remember , the energy commodities reflected below don’t actually count toward the “great CPI” numbers:

                                                                  Un-adjusted
                                                                  12-mos.
                       May   June  July  Aug.  Sep.  Oct.  Nov.   ended 
                       2010  2010  2010  2010  2010  2010  2010   Nov.  
                                                                  2010  
 Energy commodities.......  -4.8  -4.1   4.0   3.8   1.8   4.4    .8      7.7
    Gasoline (all types)....-5.2  -4.5   4.6   3.9   1.6   4.6    .7      7.3
    Fuel oil (1)............ -1.4  -3.2  -1.6    .9    .8   4.7   4.2     11.1

Then of course we have the non-allowable “Food” indicators from the same source (which is the United States Department of Labor/USDL):

Over the past year, the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has risen 5.8 percent and the dairy and related products index has increased 3.8 percent. The other grocery store food groups posted much smaller changes.

The definition of “much smaller” must be closely guarded as I have been unable to find it in any government document.

Second piece of data that seems spurious is the concept of “Seasonal Adjustment”. According to the Fact Sheet provided us:

Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of recurring seasonal influences from many economic series, including consumer prices. The adjustment process quantifies seasonal patterns and then factors them out of the series to permit analysis of non-seasonal price movements. Changing climactic conditions, production cycles, model changeovers, holidays, and sales can cause seasonal variation in prices. For example, oranges can be purchased year-round, but prices are significantly higher in the summer months when the major sources of supply are between harvests.

There is only one itty bitty teeny little issue with that concept. By coming up with an “accepted seasonal” adjustment, applying it, and then at any point during an 18 month period being allowed to modify said previous adjustment to reflect what the numbers “really were” without justification, the USDL controls all “real” numbers. Those are the numbers produced to justify the “bailouts” or “Economic Indicators” we are currently enjoying today.

In poker we call that “bluffing”. Sometimes it works, more often it does not.

I encourage readers to take the time to contact their circle of friends and find out what is really happening. By being aware of what the other actual “feet on the ground” are experiencing, one can begin to identify points of concern long before we are told what they are.