The last time inflation was this high, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was the top film at the box office, the St. Louis Cardinals were the World Series champions, and the Commodore 64 was invading households. The United States is partying like it’s 1982 as every expenditure category climbed higher in November. This is not boding well for President Joe Biden’s first year in the White House, and it could decimate the Democrats’ chances in the 2022 mid-term elections. But the administration may have a trick up its sleeve to conceal sizzling inflation over the next 12 months: Change the calculations.
In a brief press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed it plans to alter the way its crunches the numbers for the consumer price index (CPI) beginning in January 2022.
“Starting in January 2022, weights for the Consumer Price Index will be calculated based on consumer expenditure data from 2019-2020. The BLS considered interventions, but decided to maintain normal procedures,” the agency wrote.
It is anybody’s guess what the BLS means when it alludes to “interventions.” It is also uncertain how it will change its mechanism of measuring the cost of living. That said, while it might be intervening in the monthly inflation snapshot, market observers mayneed to keep an eye on how the researchers compile and interpret the data.
Perhaps the American people should have been prepared for this alteration. As Liberty Nation reported this past summer, Brian Deese, the head of the National Economic Council (NEC), claimed higher inflation was normal, adding that if you stopped measuring goods and services causing a higher CPI, then there would be no inflation. Who knows? Maybe this is what the BLS plans on doing to lend the Democrats a hand in 2022. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
All I Want for Christmas is an IOU
A wide range of retail surveys suggest the same thing: This year, consumers are splurging on Christmas gifts despite 39-year high inflation and intensifying scarcity. But can the American people afford to gift cousin Eddie a copy of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, or Aunt Susan a lava lamp? Perhaps not, but they are doing so with a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan.
BNPL functions like the old-school layaway plans from yesteryear, where customers make payments until the balance is paid off. With a BNPL plan, individuals can receive the product upfront while making affordable monthly payments.
A growing number of shoppers are using BNPL to fund their holiday spirit. A recent CNBC/Momentive Small Business Survey for Small Business Saturday revealed 7% of shoppers will utilize this payment method. A separate Cardify study discovered that 45% of consumers would incorporate BNPL into their holiday plans. Other surveys show that shoppers are buying stuff with BNPL services that they cannot even afford.
It makes sense that a significant portion of consumers is utilizing these mechanisms. Inflation has erased real wage growth, spending has outpaced income, and the personal savings rate is falling. The country has returned to the habit of tapping, inserting, and swiping, following in the footsteps of their esteemed representatives in the nation’s capital. When the national economy is driven by two-thirds consumption, this kind of behavior is greatly encouraged.
The Greatest Economy Ever!
Jim Cramer, the CNBC host of Mad money, made quite the claim during his Dec. 9 program: This is the best economy he has ever seen. What numbers is he combing through to make such a proclamation?
“To me, we have the strongest economy perhaps I have ever seen,” Cramer averred. “Did you see that number this morning, that unemployment number? It’s the best in 60 years! Best since ’69!”
Cramer, who routinely changes his mind about his stock picks, also treated the economy as if it were a machine that can be managed by pulling some levers. He defended Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for eventually raising interest rates to ensure “we have some but not too much inflation.” Cramer slammed the press and money managers for presenting a “fear-based narrative every time Powell talks.” These remarks came one day after he described today’s economy as “a juggernaut.”
The former Wall Street figure has gone on a series of bizarre rants as of late. Earlier this month, Cramer endorsed a universal vaccine mandate, going as far as demanding the military run the program and taking the unvaccinated to court “to prove your conscientious objector status.”
Today, there are five million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. Inflation is the highest it has been in 39 years and a global supply chain crisis. Millions are living paycheck to paycheck. Plus, the country is still living through public health restrictions, despite 61% of the nation being fully vaccinated. Life may be good for Cramer since his net worth is approximately $100 million, but the iniquitous inflation tax is hurting low- and middle-income households nationwide.
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.
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