A recent change in the methodology of how data is gathered had me full of praise but also unleashed pent-up anger in me.
While there are many examples of this, I want to discuss how our government fudges the numbers and spins a story they want us to believe.
What is the one big hurdle to a true recovery in America? Jobs.
One of the big data points that move the markets is the monthly jobs report. This report is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). I would much rather call it the Department of BS.
For the year 2009 and 2010 (April 2009 – August 2010), the United States as a whole lost 1.026 million jobs.
If that is not bad enough, a little know fact is that the BLS adds/subtracts “ghost jobs” to this headline number.
The BLS claims that based on natural death and birth rates in the country, a certain number of jobs “must” have been created. And for the same period listed above, the birth/death rate model created 1.007 million jobs in the country.
If you believe that the unemployment rate in the country is about 9.6 percent (I believe it is much higher due to games played with that data as well), with 1.026 million jobs lost, imagine what the number would be without the fake 1.007 million jobs added due to this dubious birth/death rate model.
There is mass manipulation of data that is going on across the board by the government.
Let’s take the inflation numbers that get published each month.
One again, published by the BLS, inflation rose in the United States by a mere 0.3 percent, or on an annual basis of 1.1 percent.
So if we believe them, the cost of living for each one of us has gone up by 1.1 percent in the past 12 months.
The reality is that we all know that the real cost of living for all of us has gone up by much more than 1.1 percent.
The costs of simple items like bread, milk, vegetable oil, gasoline for cars, trash pickup charges, etc., have all gone up anywhere between 5 percent to 15 percent for most of us.
And let’s not even talk about the “big-ticket” items such as college tuitions, medical bills and reductions in health coverage while co-payments are going up each year, etc.
The statistics published by the government are highly unreliable and quite misleading.
I was reminded of this when I saw the news that India just revised the way they calculate their inflation numbers.
I know this is a sore topic in India as the citizens are suffering soaring prices in their daily living. So I was curious to see what kind of "adjustment" the Indian government had done to their data collection.
I was amazed to find that they had changed the data components within the overall measurement to calibrate their calculation with a real basket of goods that reflected the normal consumption of the average person.
For example, the government has de-emphasized the cost of food from an original weighting of 27 percent down to 24 percent.
It is logical to assume that as the nation is getting wealthier, their per-dollar consumption on food items will slowly decline.
And the government has replaced the weighting of food with consumer items like DVD players, washing machines, microwave ovens, bottled water and ice cream.
And the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which targets inflation and wants it to be in the 6 percent region, has concluded that even after the revision of the basket, the rates are too high. It has signaled that interest rates have to continue to rise to stop inflation. The RBI is confident about achieving their target by March 2011.
In fact the RBI is talking about a “positive” real interest rate for the masses. What this means is that they would like to see a rate of interest paid on deposits in bank to be higher than inflation rates.
Wow. A government that is actually moving in the right direction with the times.
Now, contrast that to the U.S. government. Hiding the real numbers on inflation from us. Lying to us about job losses to make us feel better. Not even considering a “real interest-rate differential” for the masses, which could drive real savings in this country.
I know where I am investing my dollars to earn a “real” income from a government I trust: India (and not the United States).
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