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-   -   CPI, bald faced lies (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/cpi-bald-faced-lies-34051.html)

RockOn 03-14-2008 07:46 AM

CPI, bald faced lies
 
I haven't located all the monthly details yet, but it's time for citizens to file a Class Action suit. If anyone out there doesn't think the numbers are a lie, you have to be brain dead.

Gas down 2% for the month, commodities down, medical care up 0.1%.....what a joke.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 08:00 AM

Whatever they are smoking, I want some.

Prices unchanged? If private companies cooked their books like this, their executives would be in prison.

Midpack 03-14-2008 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628588)
I haven't located all the monthly details yet, but it's time for citizens to file a Class Action suit. If anyone out there doesn't think the numbers are a lie, you have to be brain dead.

Gas down 2% for the month, commodities down, medical care up 0.1%.....what a joke.

Which month and column are you referring to?

freebird5825 03-14-2008 08:17 AM

in their dreams, maybe...:rolleyes:

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 08:28 AM

Its one month of numbers big deal. Put away the tin foil hats.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 08:32 AM

Its not a lie. The metric simply records price changes for a particular budget and type of person. That many ER's probably dont equate to.

I'd bet that for the average urban worker that rents an apartment, takes the train and doesnt pay for health care, its spot on.

RockOn 03-14-2008 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 628598)
Which month and column are you referring to?

This months CPI numbers that were reported this AM.

There is nothing tin foil about it, it is real. It's not just one month either.
What a joke.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 08:35 AM

What I don't get is that TIPS are rallying today. They should be selling off viciously as people who hold them realize what a scam it is and sell.

RockOn 03-14-2008 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628622)
Its not a lie. The metric simply records price changes for a particular budget and type of person. That many ER's probably dont equate to.

I'd bet that for the average urban worker that rents an apartment, takes the train and doesnt pay for health care, its spot on.

Get real. So that persons medical care is going up 1.2% a year? Get real.
Oh, I see you excuded health care, I guess it's free!

RockOn 03-14-2008 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628627)
What I don't get is that TIPS are rallying today. They should be selling off viciously as people who hold them realize what a scam it is and sell.

I don't get it either. Wall Street is drinking the koolaide, unlike Main Street.

As far as Wall Street, did you watch Bear Sterns this morning. Up $10 on the news is was about to go under (who the hell was buying on that news), then down 50%. The koolaide drinking is out of control.

Midpack 03-14-2008 08:46 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628624)
This months CPI numbers that were reported this AM.

There is nothing tin foil about it, it is real. It's not just one month either.
What a joke.

You can find data easily to prove to yourself whether CPI is right or not, whether by looking at your past purchases or online (see below, one of hundreds of sources, choose one you trust). I gather you're referring to the Feb 08 CPI numbers, and if I eyeball the chart below down 2% looks feasible for Jan to Feb. Sounds like you're thinking about Feb to Mar, which appears it will be a different story. I've tracked and used CPI in my job for about 15 years, and I'm not so sure it's inaccurate as you allege.

Attachment 3394

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628628)
Get real. So that persons medical care is going up 1.2% a year? Get real.
Oh, I see you excuded health care, I guess it's free!

Yep, it is almost free in the CPI model. The CPI model presumes a worker who has their health care costs largely paid by their employer.

Even in the CPI-E (elderly) health care costs are presumed to be absorbed somewhat by medicare, but it does account for increased out of pocket expenses due to age.

Unfortunately, theres no CPI-ER where the primary cost is health care, followed by food, energy, travel and toys.

My frickin toy budget skyrocketed 498% in the last month.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628641)
Unfortunately, theres no CPI-ER where the primary cost is health care, followed by food, energy, travel and toys.

See, that's the thing. It may well be true that "discretionary" big-ticket items have fallen in price due to decreased demand, but that's because everything else is so damn high that a lot of people can't afford that big screen TV or new car because they're spending everything filling the gas tank, heating the home and keeping food on the table.

What they really need is a CPI-MC for the middle class, one that reflects a typical budget and recognizes that when prices of the essentials is very high, discretionary "stuff" is weighted less to account for the fact that fewer people can afford it.

Marquette 03-14-2008 08:52 AM

I'll get you some better percentages later...

For my CPI-P:

Health care is down against last month but up 10% over last year

Gas is down and trending down faster (employing new driving style)

Food is up horribly but that's from moving the hedonic scale up (eating out multiple times a week)

Energy is even

It's not like the calculation for CPI is a mystery. And, it's based on polling real people. Do you think they're putting some ringers in the mix? Maybe you don't like their component weighting?

I didn't look hard, but this doc shows the weighting by category:

https://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiri2006.pdf

RockOn 03-14-2008 08:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 628638)
You can find data easily to prove to yourself whether CPI is right or not, whether by looking at past purchases or online (see below, one of hundreds of sources, choose one you trust). Your referring to the Feb 08 CPI numbers I gather, and if I eyeball the chart below down 2% looks feasible for Jan to Feb. I've tracked and used CPI in my job for about 15 years, and I'm not so sure it's inaccurate as you allege.

Attachment 3394


I'm a little fired up about this, so I might be missing something but it looks like gas was up 18% in the last year by your example. Yet CPI is less than 4% year over year? We can all pick and choose and play games with numbers.

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 08:56 AM

Why be fired up about it. We know they exclude certain things its not like they change the parameters every month. Keep track of your own inflation rate.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 628652)
Why be fired up about it. We know they exclude certain things its not like they change the parameters every month. Keep track of your own inflation rate.

But they claim that the OVERALL rate (which includes food and energy) is also unchanged. If you only said the "core" rate was unchanged, I could believe it. But you can't drive to w*rk or eat the core rate.

RockOn 03-14-2008 08:58 AM

They are stealing from us through COLA's. Even the standard deduction on our taxes.

barbarus 03-14-2008 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 628638)
I've tracked and used CPI in my job for about 15 years, and I'm not so sure it's inaccurate as you allege.

Midpack, do you think the CPI accurately reflects the real cost-of-living for the average American?

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628655)
But they claim that the OVERALL rate (which includes food and energy) is also unchanged. If you only said the "core" rate was unchanged, I could believe it. But you can't drive to w*rk or eat the core rate.


Why is it so hard to believe for 1 month it was unchanged?

Marquette 03-14-2008 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628649)
I'm a little fired up about this, so I might be missing something but it looks like gas was up 18% in the last year by your example. Yet CPI is less than 4% year over year? We can all pick and choose and play games with numbers.

CPI just came out for Feb. When I look at that graph from MidPack, it looks like gas is lower for much of Feb than Jan. That tells me that the Feb gas numbers should be lower than the Jan ones... which would be in line with your opening statement about CPI

ziggy29 03-14-2008 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628656)
They are stealing from us through COLA's. Even the standard deduction on our taxes.

That's the thing. There is a blatant conflict of interest here. The government has every reason to cook the inflation books.

COLAs on Social Security.

Interest paid out in TIPS and series I savings bonds.

Resetting of income tax brackets.

The fox is guarding the hen house.

I'd really like to see some trusted, independent third parties with no conflicts of interest compute inflation. REAL inflation, not the screwed up way they calculate it now to understate it with crap like "substitution."

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:02 AM

On CNBC, the dope just said, the CPI "eased fears" of higher inflation. Koolaide drinkers.

P.S. I should add that Mark Haynes has credibility. He said the CPI was BS and that Bear Sterns should not have up on bad news, before it crashed 50%. Of course the dope, Erin "Brunette" made fun of him, as usual. Notice how he has been pushed to the back office. Koolaide drinkers I say.

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 628659)
CPI just came out for Feb. When I look at that graph from MidPack, it looks like gas is lower for much of Feb than Jan. That tells me that the Feb gas numbers should be lower than the Jan ones... which would be in line with your opening statement about CPI

Did you pay less at your pump? I didn't.

I give up, I need another cup of coffee to settle down. This is such BS.

Marquette 03-14-2008 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628662)
Did you pay less at your pump? I didn't.

I give up, I need another cup of coffee to settle down. This is such BS.

As I've already pointed out, my fuel costs are down, energy is flat, food is way up because I've pushed the hedonic scale up, health care is down against last month but up year over year.

So, yes, I did pay less at the pump.

freebird5825 03-14-2008 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628662)
Did you pay less at your pump? I didn't.

I give up, I need another cup of coffee to settle down. This is such BS.

for your groaning pleasure...see
Gas Prices - MSN Autos
and punch in your zip code.

TG i'm in VGENX in a Roth IRA. maybe that will offset the price i'm paying at the pump.
<not holding breath>

Midpack 03-14-2008 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628662)
Did you pay less at your pump? I didn't.

I give up, I need another cup of coffee to settle down. This is such BS.

RockOn: I'm not going to bother to review all my gas credit card purchases (did you?), but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the price I paid per gallon tracks pretty closely with the graph. Show us some data to support your allegation (before you suggest a Class Action suit, presumably was tongue-in-cheek).

Barbarus: I don't know of a better metric, do you? I think people's spending is increasing faster than CPI, but part of that is people have and expect more toys and services and they don't consider that the content of some of their purchases has changed which is reflected in the price (ie, the average car today has so many more features and technology than a car of 10, 20 years ago - you can't say it's apples to apples IMHO).

Ziggy29: Interesting point about the Govt's incentive to "cook the books." I don't believe they are for the most part, but they are between a rock and a hard place. If COLA goes up more radically, and SS, govt pensions, etc. go up more radically - revenues have to go up to pay for it. As a taxpayer with none of those benefits (yet), it's in my best interest that they don't go up any faster since I have to pay higher taxes as a result. I realize one day I may be the beneficiary of COLA, but I'd like to think I would resist the temptation to fleece (too strong a word, but you get my drift) the generations that follow me for my own (generations) benefit. It's going to be bad enough for them - would you like to be 21 today? I wouldn't. The fair answer for all concerned lies somewhere in between - so if CPI straddles the fence (I'm not conceding that it does BTW), maybe it's best for all concerned.

Flamesuit on, go for it...

ziggy29 03-14-2008 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 628666)
As I've already pointed out, my fuel costs are down, energy is flat, food is way up because I've pushed the hedonic scale up, health care is down against last month but up year over year.

So, yes, I did pay less at the pump.

The problem is that you are not comparing apples to apples and you are not comparing the cost of living according to the same standard of living. You're not comparing the exact same basket of goods and services.

This is the same kind of "substitution" BS the government uses -- when prices are rising, substitute steak with hamburger and claim the price of meat didn't rise.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 09:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 628638)
You can find data easily to prove to yourself whether CPI is right or not

Gas around here went up 40c in the last month.

Using the same metric over a longer time frame...seems the last 5 years have produced a little more price pop in fuel than a 2.x-3.x% number would account for. Of course its only one of many pieces in the pie.

freebird5825 03-14-2008 09:23 AM

sorry if this is a repeat, but my reply disappeared into the ether.

for your groaning pleasure...
see Gas Prices - MSN Autos
and punch in your zip code.

Midpack 03-14-2008 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628649)
I'm a little fired up about this, so I might be missing something but it looks like gas was up 18% in the last year by your example. Yet CPI is less than 4% year over year? We can all pick and choose and play games with numbers.

Where on earth are you getting 18% (don't bother to answer)?

Look at the CPI data again. For Transportation Motor Fuel:

Jan to Feb: -2.0% (this is the number you based your "action" on). Note that it's the change for one month, Jan to Feb 08.
Dec to Jan: +1.2%
Nov to Dec: +2.8%

And look at what "they" are reporting for CPI Transportation Motor Fuel Feb 07 to Feb 08 +32.7%.

Still think they're 'cooking the books', 'drinking the Koolaide,' etc.?

Again, a little data to support your POV would be nice.

You have the last word, I'm done with this thread...

Emotion is the enemy of rational argument.

Marquette 03-14-2008 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628672)
The problem is that you are not comparing apples to apples and you are not comparing the cost of living according to the same standard of living. You're not comparing the exact same basket of goods and services.

This is the same kind of "substitution" BS the government uses -- when prices are rising, substitute steak with hamburger and claim the price of meat didn't rise.

I've already stated that I'm talking about my personal rate of inflation. And, for my personal quality of life and cost of living, I think it's worth substituting along the hedonic scale as appropriate. For my purposes, at a macro level "eating food" suffices for planning since we feel that we have the same quality of life if I'm making us risotto at home or we're plunking down $50 for dinner at our favorite spot. Obviously, they're going to play out very different with regard to costs, but for my purposes it works. Feel free to plan and live your life differently... just sharing my details.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 628680)
I've already stated that I'm talking about my personal rate of inflation. And, for my personal quality of life and cost of living, I think it's worth substituting along the hedonic scale as appropriate. For my purposes, at a macro level "eating food" suffices for planning since we feel that we have the same quality of life if I'm making us risotto at home or we're plunking down $50 for dinner at our favorite spot. Obviously, they're going to play out very different with regard to costs, but for my purposes it works. Feel free to plan and live your life differently... just sharing my details.

I'm not saying you shouldn't adjust your spending according to your realities.

I just think a government that calculates inflation this way is bogus. True inflation means comparing apples to apples. Don't say transportation is cheaper because people are trading a Hummer for a Prius. Don't say food prices are flat because people are giving up steak for chicken.

By all means, in the real world we have to do this. But that has the potential to grossly underestimate true inflation. I'm not challenging your "personal" inflation, just saying it's not a legitimate way to measure true inflation in the economy.

SecondCor521 03-14-2008 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628672)
This is the same kind of "substitution" BS the government uses -- when prices are rising, substitute steak with hamburger and claim the price of meat didn't rise.

I find this claim surprising and interesting. Can you point to a cite?

2Cor521

ziggy29 03-14-2008 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecondCor521 (Post 628684)
I find this claim surprising and interesting. Can you point to a cite?

Substitution is a well-known practice in calculating inflation numbers. Google "CPI substitution" and you'll see it all over the place.

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 628679)
Where on earth are you getting 18% (don't bother to answer)?

Look at the CPI data again. For Transportation Motor Fuel:

Jan to Feb: -2.0% (this is the number you based your "action" on). Note that it's the change for one month, Jan to Feb 08.
Dec to Jan: +1.2%
Nov to Dec: +2.8%

And look at what "they" are reporting for CPI Transportation Motor Fuel Feb 07 to Feb 08 +32.7%.

Still think they're 'cooking the books', 'drinking the Koolaide,' etc.?

Again, a little data to support your POV would be nice...

You have the last word, I'm done with this thread...

You think that 32.7% is "correctly" figured into the 4% total year over year for the average citizen? After the theft has fully done it's damage and your standard of living has paid the price, you'll see what I mean. Koolaide drinkers I say. :) Gold is above $1000 today.

Marquette 03-14-2008 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628683)
By all means, in the real world we have to do this. But that has the potential to grossly underestimate true inflation.

The CPI is supposed to be a model of the real world. So, if we're supposed to live like that in the real world, then it sounds like they nailed it.

So, the problem may be that other branches of the goverment are choosing one of the CPI measures, which sounds like it models the real world well, as a basis for payouts to people in the real world?

Would it help you if they also published a non-hedonistic model? I can see that that'd be useful but I'm not sure for what.

Marquette 03-14-2008 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628691)
You think that 32.7% is "correctly" figured into the 4% total year over year for the average citizen? After the theft has fully done it's damage and your standard of living has paid the price, you'll see what I mean. Koolaide drinkers I say. :) Gold is above $1000 today.

So you've got lots of appeals to emotion and not a single number or graph to help your case.

um, yeah, I'm angry as all get out too. When are we marching on Washington? I'm totally there

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 628697)
So you've got lots of appeals to emotion and not a single number or graph to help your case.

um, yeah, I'm angry as all get out too. When are we marching on Washington? I'm totally there

I could come up with tons the numbers but you'd just dismiss them so it's not worth my effort. Let's start with the price of a typical house doubling or tripling in around 5 years, "but that doesn't count", we should just look at the cost of rent. None of us would possibly want to buy a house in our lives, would we?

Nords 03-14-2008 09:58 AM

As an ER I spent less than $1000 on gasoline last year. If the price doubles to $6/gallon then I'll spend... less than $2000. Gas at some Maui stations has already gone through $4/gallon.

In 2006 I spent $1400 on gas.
2005: $1163.
2004: $1073.
2003, my first full year of ER, $922.
See a pattern here? Me either.

Before we blast each other on the percentage points, is this really a significant portion of one's budget? If the price of gas could derail an ER plan, is the plan sufficiently capitalized to begin with?

These CPI questions are even more applicable to me since my federal pension's COLA is tied to whatever numbers the govt calculates. I'm certainly not going to attempt to retaliate by going out to buy my own COLA'd annuity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628641)
My frickin toy budget skyrocketed 498% in the last month.

Yours or Gabe's?

Marquette 03-14-2008 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628702)
I could come up with tons the numbers but you'd just dismiss them so it's not worth my effort. Let's start with the price of a typical house doubling or tripling in around 5 years, "but that doesn't count", we should just look at the cost of rent. None of us would possibly want to buy a house in our lives, would we?

No, you've got that wrong. I'm a programmer and am more than willing to make up my mind on things based on facts. I don't do well with "because I said so" arguments.

Let's start slow. Show me the stats of typical houses in typical locations tripling every 5 years. The NAR says the average home price doubles every 10 years (~7% CAGR) and it's in their best interest to inflate that number.

Again, to stress the need to understand your personal situation without relying on the goverment or media to explain your life to you, let's look at my townhouse. I'm not saying that my situation is typical or even normal, but it is 100% typical for my personal situation. My wife and I purchased our townhouse for $263k six years ago. At the high point of the market for our neighborhood, similar models sold for $280k. Our current best offer is $247k and we expect to be able to sell for about $255k. You can figure out the CAGR yourself, but I can give you a hint, it's not 7%.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nords (Post 628706)
Yours or Gabe's?

Mine. I bought two high def directv DVR's, a couple of terabytes of sata disk storage, a wii, a new cell phone, a wifi digital photo frame, and a new HVAC system.

On the matter of basket substitution, I think I have a problem with a system thats supposed to measure cost of living adjustments incorporating the REACTION people have to cost of living changes. If I'm eating steak, the cost of steak should be in there. Not chicken or hamburger.

I also dont agree that since my car, computer or television is subjectively "better", that as a result it costs me less.

In fact, steak wrapped in BACON oughta be in there. Its what everyone really wants, right? ;)

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 10:18 AM

Speaking of bacon. Man I had some really good apple wood smoked stuff the other day. Im a bit disappointed Im all out. Im starting to get the twitches.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 10:19 AM

Costco has 2-3lb packages of apple wood smoked bacon, thin and thick cut. I think its about $8.

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628717)
Costco has 2-3lb packages of apple wood smoked bacon, thin and thick cut. I think its about $8.

Let me check my numbers and see if that will match my personal inflation allowance rate for smoked apple wood bacon.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 628721)
Let me check my numbers and see if that will match my personal inflation allowance rate for smoked apple wood bacon.

If not, you'll have to substitute pigs feet. ;D

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628722)
If not, you'll have to substitute pigs feet. ;D


Funny story. My MIL was telling a story of how she loved pig feet as a kid. So for her 80th birthday I got her some. Anyways they weren't as good as she remembered them ;)

Marquette 03-14-2008 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628714)
a wii

You didn't even lie and say it was for Gabe? I'm impressed.

Wait, does he get to play?

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 10:55 AM

I think you have to substitute turkey bacon. You dont necessarily get to remain within an animal family for a substitution.

Pigs feet can be kinda good if they're made right. Not what i'd call 'good eats' though.

Yes, Gabe gets to play with it. We play tennis and baseball together on it. So far neither of us has spazzed out and thrown the remote through the tv set.

Super Mario Galaxy allegedly has some sort of "play along" feature for kids to join in. As soon as I quit losing all my lives in 4 seconds, I might figure out how that works.

I'm really impressed with the motion sensitive controllers, one in each hand. Very amusing to watch someone else play the game.

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 11:07 AM

That thing made my arms sore from the boxing game. Man Im getting old :p

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 11:28 AM

Yeah, but all that exercise will come in handy the next time someone pisses you off and you wanna punch them.

al_bundy 03-14-2008 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggy29 (Post 628595)
Whatever they are smoking, I want some.

Prices unchanged? If private companies cooked their books like this, their executives would be in prison.

it's not cooking the books, it's seasonally adjusted. the press release just hypes whatever numbers they want.

al_bundy 03-14-2008 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 628716)
Speaking of bacon. Man I had some really good apple wood smoked stuff the other day. Im a bit disappointed Im all out. Im starting to get the twitches.

niman ranch or welshire farms is what you are looking for, but it's like $5 a pound

i saw one of the farmers at one of the NYC greenmarkets had some and will probably try it soon

FIREd 03-14-2008 01:11 PM

I can see some inflation creeping into our budget in 2 categories in particular (as per Quicken):

gas: +27% in the last 12 months
groceries: +19% in the last 12 months
(with no obvious change in driving or eating habits)

Based on actual numbers for 2008 YTD, it looks like we might have reduced our gas consumption by 20-25% since the beginning of the year (it's not clear how we did it and we were not planning on reducing our gas consumption this year, but maybe we are just tired of being raped everytime we go to the pump). But groceries are on pace for another 16% increase this year.

The saving grace though is that gas and groceries represent only about 2.7% and 10% of our overall annual budget respectively, so a 27% increase in gas prices and 19% increase in grocery prices translate to only a 2.6% overall inflation rate for our annual budget, well within the 3% built into our plan (most other expenses in our budget have either remained the same or decreased over the past year and therefore our overall inflation rate is even lower than the 2.6% quoted). Plus an increase of only 1.7% in our gross annual income (we are still working) would be enough to keep up with inflation.

On the other hand my mom lives on a much smaller budget (SS benefits mostly) than we do and for her, food represents about 30% of her annual budget and gas about 7.5%. That gives her an inflation rate of 7.7% overall, but very little wiggle room to absorb that increase, and her SS benefits don't increase nearly enough each year to keep up with inflation.

ziggy29 03-14-2008 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FIREdreamer (Post 628832)
On the other hand my mom lives on a much smaller budget (SS benefits mostly) than we do and for her, food represents about 30% of her annual budget and gas about 7.5%. That gives her an inflation rate of 7.7% overall, but very little wiggle room to absorb that increase, and her SS benefits don't increase nearly enough each year to keep up with inflation.

I can imagine that a lot of retirees living on modest incomes anchored by Social Security and COLA-adjusted pensions were throwing things at their TV sets when they announced there was "no inflation" in February and that it's "only up 3-point-whatever percent" over the last 12 months.

OAG 03-14-2008 02:41 PM

I was not sure the CPI was BS before, this morning did it. CPI flat and mega-billions go to BS (meaning Bear Sterns, the previous "BS" does not mean Bear Sterns). What a system.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 02:56 PM

Come on, its a good number with excellent transparency.

I'm also sure there is very little organizational influence. Most certainly if there are 4-5 ways to factor something and half of them give higher inflationary figures than the other half, I know they'd pick the numbers that would make almost everyone in almost every part of the government upset. You know, all things being equal.

Isnt it amazing how the feds can spin on a dime to bail out a financial firm, but we struggle to put money into education, health care, food and shelter for the poor, the health of social security/medicare, and large portions of a major US city are still in ruins three years after a storm?

ziggy29 03-14-2008 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628908)
Isnt it amazing how the feds can spin on a dime to bail out a financial firm, but we struggle to put money into education, health care, food and shelter for the poor, the health of social security/medicare, and large portions of a major US city are still in ruins three years after a storm?

You can pay for those with the Chinese Manufacturer Full Employment Act "stimulus package" money...

W2R 03-14-2008 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628908)
Come on, its a good number with excellent transparency.

I'm also sure there is very little organizational influence. Most certainly if there are 4-5 ways to factor something and half of them give higher inflationary figures than the other half, I know they'd pick the numbers that would make almost everyone in almost every part of the government upset. You know, all things being equal.

Isnt it amazing how the feds can spin on a dime to bail out a financial firm, but we struggle to put money into education, health care, food and shelter for the poor, the health of social security/medicare, and large portions of a major US city are still in ruins three years after a storm?

Government is slow (I should know). And in the case of Katrina recovery, I don't expect any more will ever be delivered to those who need it than already has, since we are yesterday's news by now.

The Federal Reserve is not government exactly, though, even if we call them the feds. The Federal Reserve is a private company (but you knew that). Still, their speed was mind-boggling. Reminds me of that commercial for DSL, with the window washers dropping down the side of a building.... "THAT fast!"

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 03:03 PM

Election year might have something to do with the speed of light they are moving at.

barbarus 03-14-2008 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nords (Post 628706)
Before we blast each other on the percentage points, is this really a significant portion of one's budget? If the price of gas could derail an ER plan, is the plan sufficiently capitalized to begin with?

Maybe not to ERF bloggers Nords, but rising energy costs are devastating (or at least severely crimping) the lives of the "Walmart people". Just the fact that there are so many of them makes this situation significant.

RockOn 03-14-2008 03:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 628712)
Let's start slow. Show me the stats of typical houses in typical locations tripling every 5 years. The NAR says the average home price doubles every 10 years (~7% CAGR) and it's in their best interest to inflate that number.

I had to leave for awhile, I had to make some money to pay my kids tuition and my health insurance. Before I talk about the house price increase, let me add this. Our state tried to pass a bill to limit tuition increases to 9% a year at our public colleges. I'm not up to date on the outcome but I read it was likely to fail because the schools wouldn't accept it.

On the house price increase I did not mean to say house prices typically tripled every 5 years. Typically they barely keep up with inflation. What I say is they doubled or tripled in the last 5 years (it might have been 6 or so, I didn't look it up). I can get some Case-Shiller stats to back that up. That is a house price increase of 100% plus. Tripled might be had to find in the stats, doubling would not be. What was the reported CPI increase in the last 5 years? 16% from my source. That's about a 5 to 1 factor on that item. Can you buy that? I have the sources for Case-Shiller if you need them. Find for me anything in the world that went 5 to 1 the other way to make up for that. Want to try a few more? (Of course I realize house prices do not count.)

P.S. We could try housing (which we just did), utilities, food, healthcare/medical, transportation, taxes, and insurance. You know, just the things most of us actually have to buy. It might take me awhile to find the stats but I'm sure they are not going to average anywhere near 16% over 5 years. I left out computers, TV's, and clothing; the things often discussed as going down, because they are minor items on my list.

Running_Man 03-14-2008 04:25 PM

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U. S. City Average, by expenditure category and commodity and service group

There's the source data.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 04:29 PM

Good beer seems to cost about $1-$1.50 more a six pack this year than last year. Thats pissing me off...

RockOn 03-14-2008 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628944)
Good beer seems to cost about $1-$1.50 more a six pack this year than last year. Thats pissing me off...

Need I say more. What's that, about 15% in a year. Sorry, good beer doesn't count either, there's always some cheap swill you should have switched to. If you were rational that is. ;D

tuixiu 03-14-2008 04:53 PM

We just bought a laptop for $800 that would have been $1500 a few years ago. Neighbor just bought a 32" flatscreen LCD similar to the one we have except he paid $900 instead of $1400 like we did two years ago.

I've also noticed that with the gas rise smaller cars are more common again. Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent etc. are taking over much of the former SUV turf.

I've got no idea whether things like car prices and consumer electronics fit into CPI but if they do I'm curious how much of an offsetting effect they have?

tuixiu 03-14-2008 04:54 PM

Ditto on the beer. There's been much press about some hops pricing crisis, I assume related to that.

tuixiu 03-14-2008 04:55 PM

I've also noted salmon and shrimp (two things I'm quite fond of) seem to be getting cheaper and cheaper. What used to be a sale price I'd jump at seems to be pretty much every day now.

RockOn 03-14-2008 04:57 PM

That is the source, thanks for putting it up. We can pick it apart. Want me to start? You can probably see through it yourself.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 628945)
Need I say more. What's that, about 15% in a year.

I dunno. You'll have to ask me later when I've had a couple of them. I'm way better at math after 2 beers. At least I think I am.

When I have to buy a TV or computer every week, and when the ones I really want dont cost $3000 and $1200, respectively, then they count.

I suppose in the modern consumer lifestyle where you buy mature electronic products hand over fist, have $30k in credit card debt, expense half your meals out, have your health care paid for, etc...its all good.

kjpliny 03-14-2008 05:47 PM

Everything you wanted to know about manipulation of reported government statistics like CPI:

Shadow Government Statistics Blog Archive 4. Consumer Price Index

tuixiu 03-14-2008 05:49 PM

Quote:

I dunno. You'll have to ask me later when I've had a couple of them. I'm way better at math after 2 beers. At least I think I am.
Yeah I hit that zone too. For me some skill areas are far more open-ended with alcohol like with bowling or dancing, but things like giving a toast or speaking a foreign language I've studied there is definitely a 2-3 beer sweet spot where I'm gold but if care isn't taken I'll quickly slide back quickly as consumption continues.

al_bundy 03-14-2008 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tiuxiu (Post 628952)
I've also noted salmon and shrimp (two things I'm quite fond of) seem to be getting cheaper and cheaper. What used to be a sale price I'd jump at seems to be pretty much every day now.

i think what happened is in the last few years a lot of fish farms started up production. whole foods has a lot of farmed salmon now compared to a few years ago and most of the shrimp is now farmed from thailand instead of the real thing

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 06:13 PM

Mmmm MMMM! Fish filled with parasites packed into tiny polluted tanks!

Fortunately they taste just as good as wild caught!

https://www.fishwelfare.net/projects/...atfishtank.jpg

RockOn 03-14-2008 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjpliny (Post 628970)
Everything you wanted to know about manipulation of reported government statistics like CPI:

Shadow Government Statistics Blog Archive 4. Consumer Price Index

Been there, done that. John Williams doesn't cut it with this crowd. His numbers do seem over the top. If he is correct in that he is calculating CPI like it was done in the 70's that would be significant. Either inflation was not really 12% in the late 70's, or it is really 12% now. Can't have it both ways. That is an amazing thing for me to ponder.

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 06:33 PM

Good news. Tequila is staying around the same! Woo all is right in the world...

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 06:36 PM

Took off my flip flops stepped on a pop top...

RockOn 03-14-2008 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 628991)
Took off my flip flops stepped on a pop top...

Life is good. After bitc**n about the CPI I'm worn out. It is hopeless and all we can do is watch as our purchasing power vanishes. Got another of those generic brews?

What you might not believe is that even though I feel this way about the rigged CPI and that we are getting hosed right now, my gut feeling is that inflation might not last that much longer. If the Fed starts up the printing presses, then I'll change my mind. I think odds are that we will be seeing a deflationary stage within a year or so. Housing is already deflating. When the government numbers show the CPI down for 20 months in a row, the BLS will figure out the CPI is being under reported and will scramble to change things so that on paper we are no longer deflating. When politics gets involved in influencing markets that is what happens. The full circle of life.

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RockOn (Post 629006)
Life is good. After bitc**n about the CPI I'm worn out. It is hopeless and all we can do is watch as our purchasing power vanishes. Got another of those generic brews?

What you might not believe is that even though I feel this way about the rigged CPI and that we are getting hosed right now, my gut feeling is that inflation might not last that much longer. If the Fed starts up the printing presses, then I'll change my mind. I think odds are that we will be seeing a deflationary stage within a year or so. Housing is already deflating. When the government numbers show the CPI down for 20 months in a row, the BLS will figure out the CPI is being under reported and will scramble to change things so that on paper we are no longer deflating. When politics gets involved in influencing markets that is what happens. The full circle of life.

I don't know about you but I had a real good 4 or 5 years of growth. So lighten up take a year or so off and the boom will be back. 4 to 5 years of nice returns and people get worked up about 5 months of crap. I wont charge thats a freebie from my news letter.

tuixiu 03-14-2008 07:26 PM

Shrimp depends on what I'm doing with it. Asian tiger shrimp is fine for most things, as is Kroger farm raised pink dyed salmon. I wouldn't make lomi salmon out of it.

maddythebeagle 03-14-2008 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tiuxiu (Post 628950)
We just bought a laptop for $800 that would have been $1500 a few years ago. Neighbor just bought a 32" flatscreen LCD similar to the one we have except he paid $900 instead of $1400 like we did two years ago.

I bet you could find an 8-track player at garage sale for 50 cents or maybe in the "free box" so I guess there isnt any inflation....;)

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 628987)
Good news. Tequila is staying around the same!

Whaaa? Maybe this year but the stuff skyrocketed a couple of years ago when it became a fashionable "sipping" booze. :rant:

SecondCor521 03-14-2008 09:05 PM

1/1/08-3/14/08: $13,650.91 on everything
1/1/07-3/14/07: $14,215.75 on everything

Negative year-over-year CPI-P inflation in the 2Cor521 household.

2Cor521

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 09:26 PM

We pulled our TCL (Total Cost of Life) down in ER, but that was at the expense of not eating out that much (too much time to shop and cook), not traveling as much (we're not stressed out from our jobs anymore, and theres plenty of interesting stuff within a short drive), and by leveraging free time to squeeze down costs.

There is a bottom limit to it without pinching your TQL though...

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecondCor521 (Post 629043)
1/1/08-3/14/08: $13,650.91 on everything
1/1/07-3/14/07: $14,215.75 on everything

Negative year-over-year CPI-P inflation in the 2Cor521 household.

2Cor521

Just because you spent less for 2 1/2 months isn't valid. Since you did it, congradulations that is great. If you really can live on less, year after year, and are not be cutting back to do it, you live in a different universe than I do. Do you eat, pay taxes, have health insurance, go out to eat once in awhile, buy gas, pay utilities, pay tuition, go on any vacations? Go on a European vacation and tell me about negative inflation. It's probably up 25% in one year. I can cut my expenses year after year for awhile too, it ticks me off to think I have to. :dead:

Did you catch the guy on Kudlow tonight? I don't remember his name. He said the only zero anybody in America believes when it comes to inflation is the zero's in 100 which is the dollar/yen, 100 which is the price of oil, and 1000 which is the price of gold.

al_bundy 03-14-2008 09:29 PM

forgot his name, but he is always on kudlow. works for some place called strategas

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by al_bundy (Post 629051)
forgot his name, but he is always on kudlow. works for some place called strategas

I never liked Kudlow, or his opinions, but his show is fair and balanced lately. He brings on all points of view, the show is growing on me. I must be sick :p

Notmuchlonger 03-14-2008 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 629042)
Whaaa? Maybe this year but the stuff skyrocketed a couple of years ago when it became a fashionable "sipping" booze. :rant:

What since when. Its like the ugly step child of booze.. Man I dont need people running the price up on it.

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger (Post 629055)
What since when. Its like the ugly step child of booze.. Man I dont need people running the price up on it.

Next thing you know they'll have futures and options on it!

cute fuzzy bunny 03-14-2008 09:44 PM

Yep, agave went from about 5c a kilo in the early 90's to almost two bucks by a year or two ago.

Try out THAT inflationary pressure...>:D

RockOn 03-14-2008 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 629058)
Yep, agave went from about 5c a kilo in the early 90's to almost two bucks by a year or two ago.

Try out THAT inflationary pressure...>:D

23.28% per year if I assume 16 years. Don't worry, it's not in the CPI so it will not affect your COLA's. They assumed you switched to grain bootleg a long time ago.

ladelfina 03-15-2008 01:28 AM

Quote:

I think it's worth substituting along the hedonic scale as appropriate. For my purposes, at a macro level "eating food" suffices for planning since we feel that we have the same quality of life if I'm making us risotto at home or we're plunking down $50 for dinner at our favorite spot.
Marquette, this game only works for so long. Once everyone has swapped out steak for hamburger, then they'll have to swap out hamburger for lungs and kidneys, and the year after they'll be gnawing on the ears and the toenails. What happens when the homemade risotto is $50? You have to compare apples to apples and I would like to see "core" inflation defined as all the basics it would be hard to live without: energy, shelter (I would like to see this on a s.f. basis), basic foodstuffs, etc..

Nords, gas is only one part of the energy picture. You might be paying $1000 more in gas, AND $2000 more in heat/electric depending where you live. That could be 10% of a low-end ER budget. Then you have to factor in that when gas doubles, that causes significant increases in production and transportation costs for all goods. It's not just what you pay at the pump. People (like me) who based their ER on factors like past personal spending, and past reported (and personal) inflation are finding the numbers going a bit blooey these days, and the more you have LBYM in the past, the less fat there is to cut to offset increases in basic necessities. I already make risotto at home, and we hardly ever eat out. Our clothing expenditures for last year were $200. I could make that zero.. but for how long? and how much is that penny-pinching really going to offset in the grand scheme of things? The baseline unavoidable costs are far more significant the more modest your aspirations.

mh 03-15-2008 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 628944)
Good beer seems to cost about $1-$1.50 more a six pack this year than last year. Thats pissing me off...

Yeah, i am pissed too, that usually gets my attention before gas prices do.

lazygood4nothinbum 03-15-2008 03:33 PM

South Florida inflation rate is largest in nation -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Quote:

Consumer prices rose at a 5.3 percent annual rate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area last month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That puts the local rate higher than the inflation rate in major cities like New York (3.6 percent), Los Angeles (3.1 percent) and Chicago (4.4 percent). And it's significantly higher than the nation's rate, too.
S. Florida inflation down, but outpaces nation - 03/14/2008 - MiamiHerald.com

Quote:

South Florida's inflation rate dropped in February compared to two months earlier, but it remained much higher than the national inflation rate
looks like i took early retirement at just the wrong time and in just the wrong place. thailand here i come.

cute fuzzy bunny 03-15-2008 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mh (Post 629306)
Yeah, i am pissed too, that usually gets my attention before gas prices do.

Well sure, you hear that pump click when the tanks full and look up to see $75.00, first thing you want is a drink...

Notmuchlonger 03-15-2008 05:19 PM

Man thats it. Im moving out to the country and start making white lightning..


I will live off the land inflation be damned!

Hey that could be my new sig..

Moemg 03-15-2008 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecondCor521 (Post 629043)
1/1/08-3/14/08: $13,650.91 on everything
1/1/07-3/14/07: $14,215.75 on everything

Negative year-over-year CPI-P inflation in the 2Cor521 household.

2Cor521


Are you sure you have the right numbers ? This equals $5,460 a month and I know you always post that you live on a lot less .

cute fuzzy bunny 03-15-2008 05:39 PM

I think he forgot to separate out the $4300 a month for hookers.

HFWR 03-15-2008 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny (Post 629360)
I think he forgot to separate out the $4300 a month for hookers.

I made a hedonic adjustment from steak to hamburger in that category...

cute fuzzy bunny 03-15-2008 08:57 PM

NM

(going in the 'sheep' direction) ;)


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