This is a very special time of the month: It’s when the government steps forward with its confessional that stops short of revealing much about what is really going on behind the curtain.
Remember, Ures truly has been telling you that when the low in gas prices passes, we will scream up on the cost of living side and the Fed will be forced to raise rates, September or October, I figure. Because we are at 4.9% annualized cost inflation now, and I figure 6% or better annualized by the time we get to the September data that report be reported in October.
Hard for the Fed to keep up the low rate charade by then. Back to point…
The Labor Department cost of living report is just out. Read ‘em and weep:
“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged before seasonal adjustment. The gasoline index increased sharply in May, rising 10.4 percent and accounting for most of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. Other energy indexes were mixed, with the fuel oil index rising but the electricity index declining and the index for natural gas unchanged.
The food index was unchanged for the second month in a row, as a decline in the food at home index offset an increase in the index for food away from home. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in May, its smallest increase since December.
The indexes for shelter, airline fares, and medical care all increased, as did the indexes for personal care, recreation, new vehicles, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, for household furnishings and operations, and for used cars and trucks all declined in May.
The all items index was unchanged for the 12 months ending May after showing a 0.2-percent decline for the 12 months ending April. The energy index fell 16.3 percent over the last 12 months, with the gasoline index down 25.0 percent despite rising in May. The food index increased 1.6 percent over the last year, and the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent.
To be sure, there are bits and pieces of truth in the Cost of Living report.
For example, we know that the Triple A’s fuel gauge report shows the price of gas this morning is running a national average of $2.801. A year ago we were forking out $3.669.
On the flip side, which I bought a steak this week (refi’ed the house to do it, lol) I was only able to get a “select” cut at the local grocery store. I can tell you as the King of the BBQ that the difference between a Choice cut of Meat and a Select cut is miles and miles.
Not so much in stews, pot roasts, and the like, but when comes down to real BBQ, Choice or Prime (if you can find it/afford it) is the only way to grill.
Even the hamburger has gone up remarkably compared to last year.
I’m slowly saddling up to the hedonic pricing problem that the Labor Department uses. The “adjust” for a lot of things. I mean, how can you not?
Think about computers: My first laptop had 128K of RAM. Cost a bloody fortune, too – an old HP-110C – great little box. Thinking of looking for another one on eBay…you know this collecting antique computers stuff is going to pay off some day. Assuming we have power and haven’t EMP’ed all over ourselves.
Back to point: The current box is 12 GM, 250 G SSD, three 2-TB drives and backups plus a 64 GB card for ReadyBoost. (Did I mention I love monster spreadsheets that are fast?)
Admittedly, somewhere between 1985 and today, the Labor Department would have to figure that out.
But a choice rib steak in 2015 is not as tender as a choice rib steak was in 1990. (Or, my jaws are going out after 50,000 meals…)
Same thing with rents.
The New Minimalists (like my son) are happy with a 400 S.F. apartment. His life lives on two computers: A laptop issued by the university where he works as a researcher assistant in epidemiology, and his phone – latest and greatest Apple talking phone thing.
Hedonically, how do you document that lifestyle change? And when I was G-II’s age, I was living in a four bedroom house that was 2,200 square feet and I was not happy it was so small.
Again, how do you match that up? My life was filled with hard covered books (well over 1,000 books at one point back in my newsing days). His library including the unabridged PDR is on his phone. Damn.
Unfortunately, government doesn’t publish a Better or Worse Index, though I have through of developing one.
We Golden Year oldies were programmed to by GTO’s, Vettes, and Cobras. Today’s kids want a Nissan or Mitsu and a nitrous bottle. How do you adjust for that consumption shift?
Well, enough. Yes, I am sure when comes down to choicing that the government reports the most favorable number it can make up and justify in peer review.
But I’m sick and tired of tough steak and numbers that don’t come anywhere near the checkbook reality and we live in a particularly inexpensive part of the South.
Junior Hurricane Bill
Dumb question here, but am I the only Texan who wanders over to the calendar and wonders when hurricane season is?
The reason for asking is this “tropical storm” that just came through (and is screwing with Oklahoma today_ had peak winds of 58 miles an hour in Collin County, but the NWS isn’t calling it a hurricane because they use measures like “sustained winds.” 72 MPH is their thinking.
Still, it is uncomfortably close to hurricane strength which officially begins June 1, so Bill was right in the ballpark, though it seems early to me.
Bill was also a huge wet spot:
… Record daily maximum precipitation set at Dallas/Fort Worth…
At dfw Airport on Wednesday… 2.21 inches of rainfall fell. This
breaks the daily precipitation record for June 17. The previous
record was 1.71 inches in 1914.
Problem with Bill is technically, most of the winds were in the 45 mile per hour range. And when you look that up in the weather-name (Beaufort Scale) what you find is that’s just a “fresh gale” and it doesn’t come anywhere near the drama and hype levels needed for the screaming climate gazoymbies.
As our Thursday contribution to the marketing of weather (everything is monetized in ‘Merica, remember) I am suggesting we call Bill a Junior Hurricane on the Ure Blow-hard Scale.
“Junior Hurricanes” are anything stronger than you can fly a $20 kite in. But less than a full-on “Big-Ass Hurricane.”
I’ll send this over to the hedonics section at the Labor Department. I’m sure within 10 years we can adjust it down so anything over a breath of wind will be a marketing event called a Junior Hurricane.
Another Terrible Race Crime – National Manhunt Month
Did I not get the memo, or something? Here we are, one of the most successful micromedias in the world and no one bothered to send us the memo on how June was going to be National Manhunt Month!
Why just this morning, the MSM is off on the scent of another one: Manhunt follows attack on historic black South Carolina church. A white perp, according to witnesses and a heinous crime, indeed.
Had to happen, though. Manhunts are coming back into fashion. When we look at language, we see that the last “manhunt” low was back in 2005…so here we are halfway through 2015 and the Google Trends indicator is beginning to turn up.
Yessir, a long term trend to watch…the word manhunt is hot and it helps justify all those citizen surveillance tools. Including the still-running NSA surveillance that you’re supposed to have forgotten about.
Mr. Cynical advises you to look for an upturn in kidnappings in a few months, too…they’re in a soft patch right now.
And violence-prone crazy, racist bigots? Why they never seem to go out of style.
Thanks Hollywood. Thanks network programmers.
Pass Me Some Guilt, Please
With the report that refugees from Syria are the biggest problem in Refugee World right now, I expect some bone head in Washington to throw open the doors to hundreds of thousands of potential émigrés who will want to come here…and hate us.
Always ready to help, I have some policy advise. Accept all that come here! By swimming.
No one mentions the million from Ukraine who headed to Russia rather than be shot gunned into the crooked EU.
Maybe we could work out a refugee swap with Syrian president Assad: We will take one Syrian for each illegal we can send him in return. Next thing you know, Syria would fall due to home invasions, drug abuse, extraordinary social costs, and bilingualism.
No need to deploy…say, what’s that drone circling overhead?
Confidence in Religion
Say, you don’t think this has something to do with not working on spiritual issues and instead throwing inn with the climate change choir, do you?