A couple of grim realities, before we get into this morning’s Consumer Prices report:  The first is that CV-19 is nowhere near “whipped” and secondly, although social distancing has  slowed the pace, that may give us some important insights into the American propensity to “jump the gun” (and in this case, the shark).

What are these data points (daily change rate in percent) messaging to Ure’s truly?

Well, for one, the green areas are spaced about  a week apart.  This means that the “social distancing” has had some impact  on weekends, but when we look at the mid-week rates, they haven’t come down as fast.  Which may mean  that “essential work”  being broadly defined could elongate the disease timeline.

The problem with this is the slowing (but seemingly for now, semi-stabilized rate) is  elongating the curve of the disease pass and – as a result – lengthening out the social impact.  The “fast burn” curve is shorter (time-wise) than the “slow burn” work-through.

Hand me a cocktail napkin, would you?  (Don’t whine, it is a 50% holiday in a lock-down period…)

Not following?  Well, my thinking goes like this:

  • When we thought the disease would be a “fast burn” people went into their homes right-away and hunkered.  Good people, nice people, toilet paper hoarding people…
  • However, with some sense now that social distancing works (duh). the rate of increase is coming down on the “slow path.”
  • But you see what that does?  Actually pushes the drive back to zero way out toward late summer…

This is what my FedEx driver tipped me to when he delivered a piece of machinery (lawnmower lift) Thursday.  “Yeah, people up in Tyler seem to all be out and about…there for a couple of weeks, traffic was light but now, almost back to normal…”

The notion was backed up by Elaine when she came back (spritzing everything in sight, including here credit card with Clorox...)  “Yeah, weird in town.  People all had no face covering and the store was really busy…”  She didn’t get out of the car and everything brought home went right to the disinfecting table before being allowed inside out “green zone…”  We may be old, but stupid is something we’re trying  to get over.

Almost without a doubt, the Chinese are watching with some delight because (armed and dangerous to their own people, as they are) they have a much “harder glove” when comes to telling people what to do, than us ‘Mericans.  They also have tighter borders and shoot crossers…

We keep looking out West for word that China will seize the initiative as “Military Warns of Coronavirus ‘Breakouts’ Aboard USS Nimitz...”  Which for the Chinese, if this is a bioweapon as some “conspiracy theories” hold, is frosting on top of “He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected.”  Referring to Captain Brett Cozier’s removal from command last week of the (also infected) carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

If China ever wanted a “window of opportunity” to take Taiwan, and that would just about scuttle the U.S. access to small electronic parts in the bug-after and nanometer-level devices do matter, well, this would sure be it.  Be braced for it…and when it happens, look for sequential “lock limit down” days in the market because you can’t out-print collapse.

My suggestion?  If the Chinese go for Taiwan, we ought to invade Canada (and Mexico) because that would end our border problems and the U.S. gov could finally clean up all the crap that’s been going on for years.  Turn-about is fair play, right?  We might lose micro chips, but at least toilet paper would be firmly under U.S. control again.  And I could finally live threat free on the beach at Perto Aventuras in QR.

(Boy, did  Mr. Cheerful get up on the wrong side of the spreadsheets?  Won-ton soup?)

Bias in the News?

Here’s a story titled “New Whitmer order bans ‘travel between residences,’ with a few exceptions.”

What pisses me off?  (besides almost everything?) When a political figure who is a democrat starts spouting orders like this, their party isn’t mentioned.  When a republican does anything, party is mentioned.  Same with “calling out the national guard” – another case where the dem’s got a pass but the conservatives didn’t.  Just saying:  We live in a manipuated world.

Speaking of which…

5G Manipulation

With all due respect to my buddy The Major who has done lots of work (40-years worth)  on subtle energy medicine, while the higher duty cycle of 5G is a close-in problem,, there’s also a big manipulation in play, according to a researcher:   Go  carefully read “Covid-19 link to 5G technology fueled by coordinated effort .”

Want a real shocker?  My ViaSat router puts out both 802.11 “normal” and it also has 5G active.  Which is a tiny bit faster.  Been using it for almost a year, works great, and no adverse effects….well, except for the brain damage and we don’t know if that’s a) from being male, b) being a republican (unlike Mitt Romney!), c) being an old fart, d) having two drinks to kill worms every day…

Wait!

I never told you that joke?  Pappy delivered it when he gave me my first bottle of Scotch at age 15:

 “…so this older fellow tells his son “Go get us a couple of worms out of the garden…  Kid does  as told.  ‘Now watch this..’ says the fellow.  He dunks the worms in a shot of  booze and it promptly dies.  ‘What’s the lesson, son?‘  Boy pauses and thinks for a minute…”Drink whiskey and don’t have worms?”

(rim shot)  God, I love semi-holidays…OK, serious time, again:

Consumer Prices, Crossed Fingers

In a second, we’ll roll with the Consumer Price Index just out (conveniently, when the U.S. markets are closed).  But before we do that, a technical detail or two about how price information is collected during these unusual times.

“Survey operations for CPI pricing surveys may be affected by limitations on data-collection staff, the availability of survey respondents, and the availability of items. Note that CPI data are collected throughout the entire month. Specifically, any given price in the CPI sample is collected in one of three defined pricing periods, corresponding roughly to the first 10, second 10, and final 10 days of the month. BLS uses several data-collection modes for CPI surveys that include telephone, internet, and automated electronic data capture. However, the majority of data are collected by personal visit. About 65 percent of CPI price data and 50 percent of CPI rent data are typically collected by personal visit. This type of collection has been suspended since March 16, 2020. (It was suspended on March 5th in the Seattle area.)
What happens if BLS cannot collect CPI data? The percentage of prices in the CPI sample that may be unavailable, either because the outlet is closed or the item is out of stock, is expected to increase. When BLS cannot obtain a price either because of data-collection limitations or the item being unavailable, it will generally be considered “temporarily unavailable.” The CPI program has specific procedures for handling temporarily unavailable prices. Missing prices are generally imputed by the prices that are collected in the same or similar geographic area and item category. Essentially, the price movement of items that are not collected is estimated to be the same as those that are collected for a given item and geographic area. See the “Cell-relative imputation” section on page 20 of the CPI Handbook of Methods chapter for a brief technical discussion of this procedure. Note that this type of imputation is used in the CPI every month, especially in categories where response rates are relatively…”

Now, I don’t know about you, but around here, even Zeus the Cat knows that if you give a politically controlled government agency a chance to estimate, they will find some way to support normalcy bias and make the public think things are OK.

Un zo, says Ure (eyeing the whiteboard marker nervously), maybe we should take the figures that follow with a gain of salt.  Or, better, a shaker of salt, squeeze of lime, and a shot of Heradura Especiale. I did mention we’re in solitary and this is a semi-day-off, right?

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.4 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest monthly decline since January  2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months,  the all items index increased 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.

A sharp decline in the gasoline index was a major cause of the monthly decrease in  the seasonally adjusted all items index, with decreases in the indexes for airline fares, lodging away from home, and apparel also contributing. The energy index
fell 5.8 percent as the gasoline index decreased 10.5 percent. The food index rose  in March, increasing 0.3 percent as the food at home index rose 0.5 percent.

(These food prices is an utter crock of shit.  Remember my warning on estimations?  If you believe the food costs were only up 1/2-half of one percent, you need to call dial-a-shrink and sked some couch-time or get into rehab!  We couldn’t even get our organic milk and dumping of farm products is rolling now like it did in 1932-1933… Depression 2 is here!   Blame Covid all day long, this is a cylical depression so plant a friggin garden and deal with it, ok?)

The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.1 percent in March, its first monthly decline since January 2010. Along with the indexes for airline fares, lodging away from home, and apparel, the index for new vehicles declined in March.
The index for shelter was unchanged, with increases in the indexes for rent and  for owners’ equivalent rent offsetting the aforementioned decline in the index for lodging away from home. Indexes that increased in March include medical care, used  cars and trucks, motor vehicle insurance, and education.

The all items index increased 1.5 percent for the 12 months ending March, a  notably smaller increase than the 2.3-percent increase for the period ending February. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent over the last 12 months. The food index rose 1.9 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy index declined 5.7 percent.

With no U.S. markets to diddle,  we come around the that most central of all economics questions:

If a market manipulator farts in the woods and the markets are closed, does it matter?”

“Huh?  What  ‘Manipulator?'”

Oh, didn’t you know?  Why, as part of this-here “National Emergency” there are rumors of the FedGov going out to buy our own bonds.  As detailed in the Gloomberg report “Fed Is Seizing Control of the Entire U.S. Bond Market.”

And rather obviously if they can jigger the bond market, they WILL jigger the stock market which brings us to trhe Trillion Dollar Lawsuit question:   Here, see how making up money is now well into double-digits?

Where is the Constitution does government (or the private but mostly cooperative Fed)  have the power to, in effect, bet against the people and manipulate prices?  They’re stealing honest price discovery just like the right to assemble and….sheesh!

It has never been disclosed in anything I’ve ever seen (and unlike congressoids, I do try to read stuff before making decisions) that says “Play the market?  Sure.  If you win too much on the short side, we will fix the market and bend you over. Greed is for our pals only, and you ain’t one of them Ure…”  (Neither are you, since congress long-ago was priced out of the range of working people.  K-Street or larger money is the minimum to buy perks…  Witness the hidden money in the stimulus…but I digress.)

File under “Financial Rapes of the Remnants of the American Middle Class.”  Next to earlier entries: 9/11 and The Housing Bubble.  Whee!!!

Well, whee now depart for breakfast, more in Peoplenomics tomorrow…

Be well, be hidden, be safe, be armed.

george@ure.net