Does inflation even matter? The growing secrecy of the CPI and how average Americans face budget squeezes through financial maneuvering and the chained CPI.
Things seem to be progressively getting worse for the middle class as most of the debt ceiling talks revolve on sticking it to working Americans as if they were financially able to handle any more austerity moving forward. While the too big to fail banks swim around in pools of bailout money like Scrooge McDuck both sides seek to squeeze more pennies out of working class Americans. One way that the middle class has been hammered over the past few decades comes from the way we measure inflation. The CPI measure through the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not even examine actual home ownership carrying costs and uses a very open method of calculating home costs by using an owner’s equivalent of rent. This is why during the most obvious housing bubble in history home prices seemed to be increasing at a moderate pace according to the CPI while the more accurate Case Shiller Index was registering annual increases of 15 percent or more. This is important because so much rides on accurately measuring inflation in our country and more is trying to be done to stifle information that reflects the real changes to our overall economy.
Inflation growing slowly if we exclude food and energy
I always find it amazing how some pundits like to remove food and energy from measuring the CPI yet so much spending goes into these two items. This is also important since stagnant paychecks don’t go as far in covering these monthly budget needs. As we go forward we start getting a more inaccurate perception of inflation. For example, housing is the biggest item in the CPI because most Americans spend the largest amount of money on housing per month. So with that said, you would expect an accurate reflection in the CPI for housing. But if we look at the CPI housing measure versus the Case Shiller Index we realize a serious problem is occurring: