A Consumer Price Fairytale

Once upon a time, there lived a group of crazy people. But they didn’t know they were crazy…at least at first.

You see, they had all come to trade with one another and – as their medium of exchange – had used bits of gold and silver.

Things went well, for a while. But then – the craziest of all – decided that gold and silver were too much work.

I have an idea!” he said. “Let’s make up a new way of trading. Instead of gold and silver, we will apply ink to bits of paper. And to fool everyone into thinking this is a real “store of value” we will inscribe occult symbols on it. And, we will make it a crime for anyone to create this special paper…”

And so it was.

The Craziest of All went to Washington – where there was no shortage of crazy people to block the scheme.

After a century of time had passed, people began to ask questions.

In 1913, a steak dinner cost $1 dollar. But today, the same dinner is $25 dollars…” he asked.

But lo, and behold, he was silenced because everyone was now crazy and trading pieces of paper with ink of it for things of real value.

One man, a fellow named George, explained in all: “It’s not so bad being crazy. In what other world could you trade worthless bits of paper for perfectly good booze at the liquor store? Where else could you trade paper for filet mignons?

A crowd gathered. Some pointed and jeered at George.

I can show you right here with a Consumer Price Report,” he said.

And with that, he unwound a fresh press release and held it up for all to read. Here’s what it said:

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. The seasonally adjusted all items increase was broad-based, with the indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all rising in April.

The food index rose 0.2 percent after declining in March, with the food at home index increasing slightly. The index for energy increased 3.4 percent, with the gasoline index rising 8.1 percent, and the indexes for fuel oil and natural gas also advancing.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in April.

The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, as did the index for medical care, and the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, airline fares, recreation, and education increased as well. Several other component indexes increased slightly, including those for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and personal care.

In contrast, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, apparel, new vehicles, used cars and trucks, and communication all declined.”

(Did I, or did I not tell you gas prices would bump and begin to grind? 6% inflation rate, here we go…futures down 39 but expect lower.)

After considering the press release, a man in the front row stood up. “What the hell are you talking about?” he demanded.

Pointing to an Internet web page, George explained that how much people believe in “the paper game” all depends on how much paper it takes to be traded for something of high utility value.

You see when the price of gas was high? 2012 it was $3.68 a gallon.”

A few people nodded their heads.

And at that time, a reasonable Dow average was around 12,300. This means that in 2012, if you had enough paper to “buy the Dow” you would be able to buy 3,342 gallons of gasoline.”

A lady in the front row held up her hand.

So today, with the Dow qt 17,710, and the price of gas this morning at $2.26, wew can buy 7,836 gallons of gas…so what’s wrong with that?

A murmur went through the crowd. People began to nod in agreement.

“You’re still not seeing it. In 2012, the second term for the president was a slam dunk. The republicans were idiots.  Cine to think of it, they still are.

And so it is this year…although purely by accident, the presumptive nominee actually has a degree in business/economics. So how does the incumbent party get re-elected?

People began to look at one another. There was more murmuring.

A squeaky voice from the back of the crowd piped up.

So what’s your point?”

Simply this: Economic data can not be looked at singularly. You need to look at the whole personal income and expense spectrum. Sure, you can buy tons of gasoline, but the insurance industry has hired the government to shake you down for healthcare. You think housing is affordable, but the property taxes around the country continue to rise, as a fraction of assessed valuation. And food at the store, well, that hasn’t come down either, has it?”

A hush fell over the crowd. A few people held up political signs and said “This person will fix things…

But most knew, in their hearts, that what they had been sold as “progress” was really just taking less money from the gas budget and increasing money taken for housing, health care, food, and other necessities of life.

Did you see the Core Rate?”

That’s the rate of inflation less food and energy.

The reason that’s important is that energy costs – and that drives food costs – are slow dispersion costs. It takes almost five years for energy price hikes to spread throughout the economy. Remember, most supply chains are long and run through Asia. The reason the Baltic Dry cargo index is still hovering in “record lows” (613 this morning) is that the biggest line item cost of operating a ship is fuel. So costs are very low to move freight around…”

Suddenly the crowd began anxious. “Why are you telling us all this crap,” a burly fellow in the front row demanded.

So you can see how the screw job works, or course…

“Well, we don’t want to know. We’re perfectly happy being ignorant of economic conditions, comparative purchasing power changes, and the decline in manufacturing jobs in America. Get out of here and stop wasting our time.”

Crazy George looked at the crowd.

“If you look closely at cycles of boom and bust, you will see the boom since 2009. It’s just like the boom from 1921 to September of 1929. I can tell you with high confidence what will come next…Big gut-busting Depression. But I can’t fix stupid.

You’re the stupid one, Ure,” the man taunted.

“Only for another year, dickweed…only for another year.”

Meantime, Back at the Nasty Nest of Neocons

Part and parcel of making up bits of paper for people to worship is having a number of wars ready to pop at a moment’s notice.

For this, the US government has kept the same viper’s nest of neocons in key policy positions in the State Department from Clinton (of wet spot) to Bush of Iraq, to Barrack of Climate Change.

And their latest, seems to be telling Iran to go ahead and develop strategic missiles, but don’t announce their tests.

Meantime, the “Children of the Hill” will do what they always do when stories like this one surface: “National security adviser will not testify at House panel: White House.”

And what will the once-GOP Majority (Now, the Ryan Wing of the democrats) do?

Absolutely NOTHING. Because they have sold out the voters and they aren’t going to change “the deal” now.

Instead, we see the Fed flooding the system with cash so that the stock market will head for new highs shortly, the queen of the democrats will point to the “best years delivered by democrats” and as soon as her coronation, economic disaster will befall us…but it will all lead to another brushfire war on demand and the drama continues.

Kinda of like a nightmare you can’t wake up from (NYCWUF).

But WTF, right?

See Hillary’s unlikely ally: The media.

All Talk Dept.

From our “Take a country, throw tons of arms into it, and they make up “peace talks” department try “Syria conflict: World powers seek to revive peace talks.”

I don’t know why we don’t just skip to the regional nuclear war part and get it over with. This 70 years sitting on the edge of our chairs waiting for nuclear war is getting old.

Speaking of Hot Wrapped BS

When in doubt, let’s wrap up Kim Kardashian in an anti-ISIS moment, shall we?

It’s moments like this that I consider a liquid breakfast of Braveheart rum…but the ViseGrips on the arm are better. Lemme hear it… “Oxy’s for a brother?”

If that story doesn’t get you into rehab, how about Susan Sarandon is thinking about directing porn flix?

Land of the sheep, home of the distractions.

Kinda goes with Massachusetts Man Receives First Penis Transplant in U.S. now that I think about it. Dick-doc, anyone? A short film? (I’m sick…I promise to get help….naw, too much work.)

NK to try Consumerism

I can’t make this stuff up. North Korea may be going sane.  They are pitching a new middle class consumer culture.

Yessir, look how well it’s working out for us. Peaceful, organic lifestyle, all working in the community interest, sharing, caring, non-violent,  peaceful…

Yeah, the rum was good.  How’d you know?

Comments

A Consumer Price Fairytale — 11 Comments

  1. Hi, George.
    The bits of ink on paper sounds a lot like in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book, not movie). The “B Ark” crash lands on the planet Fintlewoodlewix, which is actually prehistoric Earth. They adopt the leaf as legal tender, instantly making them all rich. The only problem is that due to high leaf availability, the exchange rate is three major deciduous forests to buy one peanut… The theory is that we descended from this spaceship load of crazies…Sound farfetched???

  2. Susan Sarandon has that slutty, come-hither look about her, I think she’d make a great porn star, er, directoress. lol

  3. I think that you made more good points with this (semi)fictional piece than most writers score sticking to the facts. Most of the people that I try to share a little economic and political reality with do not really get it at gut level.
    Your fairy tale version may be helpful.

  4. Meantime, the “Children of the Hill” will do what they always do when stories like this one surface: “

    I thought you were going to say…let’s take a break from all this hard work and go on home..

    Funny Bernie Madhoff had it right..you can print anything on a piece of paper and people will su k it up..

  5. “I don’t know why we don’t just skip to the regional nuclear war part and get it over with.” Couple of bullets into the proper heads would be a lot more efficient. ;-)

  6. Talk about making up cash with little pieces of paper, I recently met an Electrical Engineer in Central Washington State. When I asked where he worked he said he supervises warehouses full of dedicated computers engaged in “Bitcoin mining”. Apparently these computers compete with others around the world to solve the logarithms that “create” more Bitcoins. The rub is that these computers consume enormous amounts of electricity in the process. A single warehouse can consume 2 MEGAWATTS of our formerly abundant hydroelectricity and requires elaborate cooling equipment to dissipate the resulting heat energy.

    They have several facilities like this located within the PUDs (Public Utility Districts) that get their power from Columbia River dams.

    Microsoft and Yahoo are building similar massive server farms in the same area. Soaking up our power and pumping out the heat, an environmental travesty in order to do what, again?

    • To burn all that energy producing binary abstractions, and skimming [yielding] fractions of cents per Kilowatt Hour. Lets see in order to profit. Lets say your paying $0.10 per KWH. At 2MW Hr of energy drain, then you have to make more than $200,000.00 per hour just to cover opex, not including real estate and equipment maintenance.

      At 24 hour operation, that’s $4.8M in revenue per day, $1.75B a year. And not more than a couple of human jobs are employed/supported to maintain it.

      Doesn’t seem like it is sustainable model, or worthy of producing anything tangible or useful if we ever got into a real grid/ economic crisis..

    • In July the number of coins that are able to mined daily will be cut in half from 3,600 to 1,800.