Inflate, Investigate, Instigate
(InflationGate?)
Published on May 14, 2008

JON STEWART ON LARRY KING

JON STEWART ON LARRY KING

Dean Reinemann:  “Larry brought up the subject of the primaries and asked Jon if America was ready for a woman or a black president.  Jon looked at him quizzically and said, ‘This is such a non-question.  Did anyone ask us in 2000 if Americans were ready for a moron?’ ”

 

F Ouch.  Bush is hardly a moron.  He wanted the rich – in particular the oil guys – to do well and they have (phenomenally well).  He promised to appoint more Justices like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia and he did.  He didn’t want to work terribly hard and he hasn’t.  He wanted to show that government can’t do things very well, and he has.  Morons are not usually so successful in getting what they want.

 

BIG TYPE

Scott Nicol: “If you use Firefox, you might want to try nosquint.  It remembers the zoom level you select (by CTRL +/-) for each site you visit so that you only have to adjust it once.  I have your site at 120%.”

 

THEY’RE LYING TO US . . .

Tom Cuddy:  “That Kevin Phillips link last Thursday was a great read.  I remember when a lot of these statistical tweaks were made.  They were all reported on and we were warned by some that the changes were made with a purpose in mind.  But like a lot of issues, they were forgotten.  Our national policies are routinely adjusted based on unreliable comparisons to earlier economic reports which used different criteria for their measurements.  That’s why a lot of Americans know that the official unemployment figures, GDP numbers, and inflation are out of touch with reality.  Unemployment figures especially are useless because of the revolution of the last 20 years in which employers now use part-time and 1099 workers to a far greater degree.  In the construction industry, where I have been for the last thirty five years I can say with conviction that fewer than 20% of on site construction workers are employees.  Count the 1099 guys and illegals who have been axed and you would get a truly gruesome image of how far construction employment has fallen.  Yet I read that by some ridiculous correction, construction employment is actually slightly on the rise!  In the words of Joe Pesci in my favorite movie, ‘My Cousin Vinnie,’ that’s B.S.”

 

TIPS

John McInnis:  “If the Kevin Phillips article is correct – that the government figures for inflation are grossly and systematically understated – wouldn’t that mean that TIPS, whose payouts are based on those statistics, are a lousy investment, in effect guaranteed to return less than the real rate of inflation?”

 

F Boy, can you just imagine the class action suit to be waged over that?  Talk about billions!  (Except, doesn’t the U.S. government have to give permission before it can be sued?) 

 

Long-term TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) were a better investment when we bought them at par than they are now, considerably higher.  But I have held most of mine, because (a) it’s still better inflation protection than nothing and (b) I’ve kind of assumed that much of the “real” inflation rate would eventually be reflected, as (for example) the rising cost of gasoline worked itself into the allthe components of core inflation.  But I haven’t done as much investigation of this as I should . . . and it may be instigation we need more than investigation (as in: “TIPS holders and Social Security recipients of the World, UNITE!”).



© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Andrew Tobias