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Thread: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

  1. #111
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kushinator View Post
    I didn't quote you.
    Actually, you did...(see post #100)

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Geez...I don't need to know the difference. If $10,316 1975 dollars was the inflation adjusted equivalent of $44,851 in current dollars...your figures don't show that your 900% personal increase is that much of a real increase at all.

    Stop with your smoke and mirrors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kushinator View Post
    You are just confused. The 900% figure is in nominal terms (not factored for inflation) as were your rent and gasoline data points.
    Which led to my response...in any case I was not debating with you, just correcting your initial mischaracterization and your subsequent rude demand for clarification as to the cause for that response. To quote another member: Hope that helps! Ta-ta!
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 07-31-13 at 12:14 PM.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

  2. #112
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Actually, you did...(see post #100)
    That was 27 posts after i made my statement. It did not contain any quotes, and you chose to respond with nonsense only to run and hide. Why the hiding? I exposed a mathematical and comprehension deficit.

    Run along
    It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
    "Wealth of Nations," Book V, Chapter II, Part II, Article I, pg.911

  3. #113
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
    He put me on ignore when I pointed that out..while claiming I said things I neither said nor implied.
    Nice.

    Sorry to derail, but is there a spot in the CP where you can see that someone is ignoring you? I don't see anything like that. Thx

  4. #114
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek View Post
    Nice.

    Sorry to derail, but is there a spot in the CP where you can see that someone is ignoring you? I don't see anything like that. Thx
    Not that I know of. He just announced he was going to.
    Therefore, since the world has still/Much good, but much less good than ill,
    And while the sun and moon endure/Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure,
    I'd face it as a wise man would,/And train for ill and not for good.

  5. #115
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    The BLS does, in fact, check serving / package sizes on goods.
    That was not my experience. All they wanted were UPCs and prices. The UCC allows the same UPC to be applied to smaller-package sizes so long as the company fills out some paperwork stating that it is intended as the same item.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    Each month, BLS data collectors called economic assistants visit or call thousands of retail stores, service establishments, rental units, and doctors' offices, all over the United States, to obtain information on the prices of the thousands of items used to track and measure price changes in the CPI. These economic assistants record the prices of about 80,000 items each month, representing a scientifically selected sample of the prices paid by consumers for goods and services purchased.
    This seems to be consonant with my experience in retail, though I typically just got phone calls followed up by faxes or e-mails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    During each call or visit, the economic assistant collects price data on a specific good or service that was precisely defined during an earlier visit.
    The precise part was simply the UPC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    If the selected item is available, the economic assistant records its price. If the selected item is no longer available, or if there have been changes in the quality or quantity (for example, eggs sold in packages of ten when they previously were sold by the dozen)
    Eggs are classified as a grocery commodity by the FDA and packaging is strictly regulated. It's not the same for pizza sauce, canned fruit, bottled water, yogurt (though, strangely, milk is a commodity), wheat crackers, green tea, peanut butter, or thousands of other grocery items. A manufacturer of pizza sauce can start with a 16 ounce jar and go to a 14.5 ounce jar with the same UPC on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    of the good or service since the last time prices were collected, the economic assistant selects a new item or records the quality change in the current item.
    I reiterate: I was never once asked for size change information, despite the fact that some of the items being tracked did change sizes--all of them, to my recollection, to the downside.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    The recorded information is sent to the national office of BLS, where commodity specialists who have detailed knowledge about the particular goods or services priced review the data. These specialists check the data for accuracy and consistency and make any necessary corrections or adjustments, which can range from an adjustment for a change in the size or quantity of a packaged item to more complex adjustments based upon statistical analysis of the value of an item's features or quality.
    This is complex government-speak for "massaging the data." CPI no longer tracks a fixed basket of goods with the same weights over time; the assumption is that consumers will substitute less expensive items for more expensive ones. Instead of swordfish with broccolini steamed in white wine and a parmesan and roasted red pepper fusili, I can get just as full a belly with a steamed chicken thigh, boxed mac-and-cheese, and canned green beans. The former items, as they increase in price, are given less "weight" in the basket as compared to the cheaper items.

    I refer you to this link:

    No. 515

    and the associated sources. I have to say, his analysis accords with my own experience of dealing with these folks, and also my experience as a person who buys stuff in this country.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    /end thread
    It's a little too early for a QED.

  6. #116
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy
    Wrong. Food and energy are most certainly included. There is, among many others, a special index that excludes food and energy, but that's not the headline number.
    Yes, this is correct (i.e. what you said is correct; what I said was incorrect). However, I didn't exactly mean what I said due to being in a hurry--which is still my error.

    There is a main CPI which includes food and energy. I should know that, because I was for a while my company's contact (when I worked in the private sector) for providing information to the BLS. See post just above.

    What I meant to say is this: policy makers most often use the food and energy excluded index to make monetary and economic policy. See, for instance:

    No Inflation? Fed Calls Food, Energy Gains ‘Temporary’ Despite 24-Year Rise

    Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco | What is “core inflation,” and why do economists use it instead of overall or general inflation to track changes in the overall price level?

    the paper that can be downloaded here:

    Food Price Inflation: Explanation and Policy Implications - Council on Foreign Relations

    and also:

    Fed Research: Inflation Expectations Overly Sensitive to Food, Energy Prices - Real Time Economics - WSJ

    The Inflation that Concerns the Fed Does Not First Affect Food and Energy Prices | Beat the Press

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy
    Quality adjustment works both ways.
    Well, it certainly should, but this is a different claim than saying it actually does.

    Except hedonic adjustment Isn't used for dishwashers. Appliances that use it are washing machines, dryers, stove tops, refrigerators, and microwaves.

    I think this is incorrect. It appears to be variable, dependent on when a substitution occurs. See, for instance:

    Hedonic Model for DVD Players

    In any case, I was using dishwashers as an illustration of the point. If you don't like dishwashers (or if the BLS doesn't), then translate to microwaves, washing machines, or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy
    Statisticians don't collect the prices, economic assistants do.
    Ok. I never asked for an official title or anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy
    And they have to check the size...how would you know if they were asking for the price of say, a 2oz bag of chips or a 10 oz bag?
    They would provide UPCs. The UCC allows a company to reuse a UPC for a smaller package provided it avers that the item is intended to be a one-to-one substitute for the larger size item.

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy
    And they're supposed to check the shelf to confirm the item is available and the right item.
    Well, I suppose it's possible they mystery shopped some of my stores or something, but surely you're aware that what someone is supposed to do, and what they actually do, are two different things.

  7. #117
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    ....What I meant to say is this: policy makers most often use the food and energy excluded index to make monetary and economic policy. See, for instance:

    No Inflation? Fed Calls Food, Energy Gains ‘Temporary’ Despite 24-Year Rise

    Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco | What is “core inflation,” and why do economists use it instead of overall or general inflation to track changes in the overall price level?

    the paper that can be downloaded here:

    Food Price Inflation: Explanation and Policy Implications - Council on Foreign Relations

    and also:

    Fed Research: Inflation Expectations Overly Sensitive to Food, Energy Prices - Real Time Economics - WSJ

    The Inflation that Concerns the Fed Does Not First Affect Food and Energy Prices | Beat the Press

    Well, it certainly should, but this is a different claim than saying it actually does.

    Except hedonic adjustment Isn't used for dishwashers. Appliances that use it are washing machines, dryers, stove tops, refrigerators, and microwaves.

    I think this is incorrect. It appears to be variable, dependent on when a substitution occurs. See, for instance:

    Hedonic Model for DVD Players

    In any case, I was using dishwashers as an illustration of the point. If you don't like dishwashers (or if the BLS doesn't), then translate to microwaves, washing machines, or whatever.

    They would provide UPCs. The UCC allows a company to reuse a UPC for a smaller package provided it avers that the item is intended to be a one-to-one substitute for the larger size item.

    Well, I suppose it's possible they mystery shopped some of my stores or something, but surely you're aware that what someone is supposed to do, and what they actually do, are two different things.
    I want to thank you for this and your prior post #115. I have never claimed to be an economist (nor would I want to be), so all I can argue from is empirical evidence garnered over the last 50 years. I knew what the economy was like prior to 1975 and how much is has changed since.

    I've always been confused by the constant refrain from economists that nothing is amiss, our money is still good...look your wages are up! But they never really address the fact that prices for everything also went up, while both product quality and the packaged amounts kept going down. Instead they argue regular inflation is good, and always quote the CPI and other razzle dazzle statistics claiming everything is fine. Yet this doesn't seem to match reality much.

    I can't argue with them because I am not a charts and figures guy, I am just a KNOW IT CUZ I SEE IT kinda guy. They appear wrong because what they say does not reflect in the consumer marketplace. I mean who cares if major items I'll buy once in a decade like washing machines or HDTV seem cheaper when everyday items and services I need use up everything I earn and more?

    So thanks for pushing back and providing those links. Kudos!
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 08-02-13 at 12:15 AM.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

  8. #118
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    That was not my experience. All they wanted were UPCs and prices.
    They don't have to ask you for price quantity changes. It's hardly a state secret. All they have to do is get the size changes into their database, and that can be done anywhere.


    This is complex government-speak for "massaging the data." CPI no longer tracks a fixed basket of goods with the same weights over time; the assumption is that consumers will substitute less expensive items for more expensive ones.
    No, that is "chained CPI." It's an alternate measure (C-CPI).

    They've been discussing switching to chained CPI, but haven't done it yet.


    I refer you to this link:
    Shadowstats is basically bull****.

    So unless you actually work at the BLS, and know for a fact that they ignore changes in quantity and size -- even when they explicitly say state that they do -- then yeah, the thread is pretty much over.

  9. #119
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Here ya go, UPC info from a database. This is one run by a hobbyist, no less.

    UPC Database: Item Record

    Size/weight is right in the DB. If some dude does this in his spare time, there should be little doubt the BLS can do so as well.

    Are we done yet?
    Last edited by Visbek; 08-02-13 at 12:36 AM.

  10. #120
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    Re: HIDDEN INFLATION - "Fewer Sheets Needed to Get the job Done"

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    They don't have to ask you for price quantity changes. It's hardly a state secret. All they have to do is get the size changes into their database, and that can be done anywhere.
    You mean, size changes? I agree it's not secret information. It is possible they get that information straight from the manufacturer or something. However, this seems needlessly complicated. Where, in the statement of how they operate, do they say they get price information from retailers, but size change information from manufacturers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    No, that is "chained CPI." It's an alternate measure (C-CPI).

    They've been discussing switching to chained CPI, but haven't done it yet.
    I agree they don't do this as much as they (by which I mean, politicians) like. However, the basket of goods is not fixed, and it does track changes in consumer buying patterns. At least some of those changes are going to be due to the old items becoming unaffordable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    Shadowstats is basically bull****.
    Why do you think so? It doesnt' seem so to me. My experience as a consumer is that prices have been increasing at a much faster rate than the official report. Back when I employed people, I was delighted to use the core inflation numbers to set my annual cost-of-living salary increases. And when I was working for someone else, my boss was happy to do the same to me. But there was a steady decline in overall standard of living that my employees complained about, and which I experienced directly. I don't think this is mere bellyaching or nostalgia. It seems to be widely reported.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    So unless you actually work at the BLS, and know for a fact that they ignore changes in quantity and size -- even when they explicitly say state that they do -- then yeah, the thread is pretty much over.
    Again with the implied QED. It seems to me that the proper attitude ought to be epistemic neutrality. What you seem to be saying is that without a firm reason to doubt what government tells us, we ought to simply believe what they say. I agree with a qualified version of this when it comes to day-to-day testimony, but I think government in general has a very poor reputation for being honest. So I'm disinclined to agree with your attitude.

    The fact remains that the common experience of American citizens is that money simply doesn't go as far as it used to, and the shortfall is such that the reported figures for inflation over the last few decades don't seem to cover the observations.

    I would buy that part of this is due to the fact that people don't understand exponential functions. But that's far from all of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    Here ya go, UPC info from a database. This is one run by a hobbyist, no less.

    UPC Database: Item Record

    Size/weight is right in the DB. If some dude does this in his spare time, there should be little doubt the BLS can do so as well.
    Well, I never said that I didn't keep size information, or that it would be impossible to keep such information. So, I'm not sure what the point is here. I merely claimed (correctly) that I was never asked for such information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek
    Are we done yet?
    You seem to be in a hurry to be finished with this conversation.
    Last edited by ashurbanipal; 08-02-13 at 12:44 PM.

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