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Topic: True Unemployment Rate Try 12%

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All Forums : [GENERAL] : General Discussion : Current Events > True Unemployment Rate Try 12% (closed)
13 APR 2012 at 3:32pm

ActionJack

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The ‘True’ Unemployment Rate? Try 12%

http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/04/12/the-true-unemployment-rate-try-12/?mod=e2tw


"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

 

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15 APR 2012 at 7:58am

ghostryder

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I don't think 12 percent is an accurrate figure either. How these people get their numbers has always bugged the hell out of me. For one well over the 20 percent of the workforce is self employed. They're not paying into unemployment unless they have 20 or more employees working for the, in my case i was the owner.operater-and self employed for over 5 years. When the economy dried up so did my work-but officially I was never counted--I am not unemployed. I'm just a self employed lacking clients. Heck the last year of the buisness was so slow I never even bothered filing taxes as I made less than the minimum required to file. Just how many others in the same boat? Whatever that percentage is it's not in those figures.

 

they do the same crap with inflation numbers. They don't count consumables like...huh...groceries! I mean WTF--have you priced a gallon of milk, a stick of butter or a single meat cut lately? It used to be cheaper to fix your meals at home rather than eat out. That situation isn't true anymore. If I want an uninspired cut of rib eye in the store I'm paying $12 to $16 ($6 to $8 if they are on sale in a four pack) and that's before I buy the ingredients for a salad, a baked potato and a can of beans. Makes no sense when i can drive down the street to a $10 buffet all you can eat, or get a steak with all the trimmings at Golden corral of the same $10 bucks. heck I'm better off at the Saltgrass steakhouse where a steak/shrimp plate is but $18.

 

Wasn't that long ago a gallon of milk was $1.79 and a good rib eye cut was $5. Like just a couple years ago. Yet they do NOT put these figures into their calculations in the inflation index-which is hogwas as about a quarter of my income goes to the grocery store. For the guy working minimum wage almost half of his has to go there. Yet for some insane reason it's concidered unimportant.

 

Truth is this massive debt, all the money printing and stock market paper pushing has made the dollar worth about half of what it used to be while wages have stayed stagnant and jobs have dissappeared.

 

Some lame brains are actually blaming the baby boomers for the unemployment numbers. Again a falsehood. If they are retiring they still remain consumers spending their money on living xpenses while at the same time leaving their job slot open of new hires. Yet that job slot dissappeared. You'd think there would be in fact far more jobs than what could be filled- but that is not the case. Those baby boomer positions are in China, Korea, Canada, Mexico and anywhere else the corporate tax isn't the highest in the world-- this fact makes the situation even more bleak as in a generation these baby boomr will be half gone-and in another another quarter will die and the rst the next---meaning even far less consumers which will equal far less demand which will lead to even higher unemployment. Currently them being alive is buffering just how damn bad the situation really is.

 

The intitlment crowd is going to have to realise the government handout party is over. No more lucrative retirment plans on the taxpayers backs. Civil sevants are going to have to go back to just being that rather than someone in a well funded perks govervnment carreer track. From congessmen to Senators right down to legaslators it has to go back to a position of short term community service the way it used to be instead of a bloated pay and infringment bank that has racked the working class over the coals. Simple as that. Welfare should be for those unable to work....and that is the operative word...unable. Currently 80 percent of them can. And don't give me the, "but I have children" bit...I raised 3 with a fulltime job as a single parent. It's time for them to realise their di-ks and pu--ys are cashing checks we can no longer cash.

 

And no more wasting billions on the fantasy of green energy. The Windmill has demolished California. Have you driven around there lately?! Billions on things like Solendra are the tip of the massive waste---carbon credits that do nothing but starve people, Hybrids that choke out landfills with poisons, not to mention the massive mercury poisoning from Florscent bulbs that likely is the cause for the huge percentage jump in Down Syndrome births. You want to help the planet put down that plastic bottle of water---in fact ban plastic period. We don't recycle it. That's a huge lie. Replace it with a renewable resource like cardboard --you know at one tim drinks were in that or glass. Neither fill landfills at an alarming rate. In fact cardboard and glass are both easily recycled too! And know this. For at least 30 more years...AT LEAST...98 percent of all our energy is going to come from oil, coal or gas. Make getting it easy so we can get lots of it to keep energy prices low- if you think an alternative is going to rplace any of the three any time soon your just insane and your insanity is killing us. :et hollywood make those fantsy films. Here in the real world I fill my car at the gas pump and I will  be doing the same 20 years from now.


 

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Last edited by ghostryder : 15 APR 2012 8:17am
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23 APR 2012 at 3:20pm

Seytan

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (13 APR 2012 3:32pm)

The ‘True’ Unemployment Rate? Try 12%

http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/04/12/the-true-unemployment-rate-try-12/?mod=e2tw

 

My personal opinion is that the rate is 15-18%. I use the governments own declaration that one in seven Americans are on public assistance. Further the rate quoted by the Government dosnt reflect those that are termed Frictionally Unemployed. If you are not collecting unemployment, as far as the Government is concerned, you are employed.

 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/ Hope and Change BABY!

 

 



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24 APR 2012 at 8:05pm

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The last time I bought ribeye it was $8.99/lb.  I paid it because I like ribeye.  I also like catfish and it was almost $9/lb for filets. 

 

Milk at Walgreens was $3.99 the other day.  My wife goes to Aldi because the prices are better.  Most items are much less expensive and are not all bad (the bread is edible, not great but edible).

 

Real inflation must be higher than the numbers we get.  If food and fuel are factored in (no one eats or drives, right?) the numbers would be considerably higher. 

 

I haven't received a raise in two years (I imagine there are others in the same position) so my dollar buys less each year.

 

I am saving less because my costs are higher. 

 

I hope the situation improves but I have my doubts.


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25 APR 2012 at 12:48am

Seytan

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Originally Posted By Hadubrand (24 APR 2012 8:05pm)

The last time I bought ribeye it was $8.99/lb.  I paid it because I like ribeye.  I also like catfish and it was almost $9/lb for filets. 

 

Milk at Walgreens was $3.99 the other day.  My wife goes to Aldi because the prices are better.  Most items are much less expensive and are not all bad (the bread is edible, not great but edible).

 

Real inflation must be higher than the numbers we get.  If food and fuel are factored in (no one eats or drives, right?) the numbers would be considerably higher. 

 

I haven't received a raise in two years (I imagine there are others in the same position) so my dollar buys less each year.

 

I am saving less because my costs are higher. 

 

I hope the situation improves but I have my doubts.

 

Good lord were do you live? In Tucson at the local grocery stores New York Strip, T Bones, Ribeye, and CATFISH! Which I love btw :} are cheaper then you quote. At Safeway I bought a package (family pack) of T Bones which averaged out to about 6 bucks a steak. These also were not thin cuts. Catfish fillets were like 6 bucks for 2 in a pack and they are large enough to serve a portion per person. Anyway im going to Trader Joes tomorrow to buy Israeli feta cheese. Its super delicious and its cheaper then hitted the Arab food stores in town for Turkish cheese. I will however break down and go to pick up my favorite, sour milk drinks! Turks call it Ayran, I love the stuff, and to buy olive oil.

 

 



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25 APR 2012 at 4:38am

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I wonder if Hadubrand lives in Minnesota like myself, as those prices are very similar to what I pay. 

 

 


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25 APR 2012 at 5:15am

ActionJack

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I'm in San Diego and I see ribeye for 8.99lb. Catfish 6.99lb.  Milk is 3.99. These are coupon prices for this week.


"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

 

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25 APR 2012 at 5:48am

ghostryder

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Yeah about the only time one can buy a ribeye is when they are on sale in the family pack-and still they average $5 to $6 dollars a piece. So if your married with 2 kids your working at least 2 hours that day to have dinner- assuming the drinks, salad, beans and corn are on sale.

 

Imagine however your one of the newly graduated from college that is basically 58 percent unemployed or under employed. You've just racked up a 6 figure massive debt and your working at burger shack for $8 an hour. And sadly 1 in 8 is terribly inaccurrate for those on government assistance. It is 1 in 2.

 

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1579601663001/entitlement-society-strangling-the-us-economy

 

 


 

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26 APR 2012 at 7:39pm

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I live in Wichita Falls, Texas.  The prices I quoted were from a supermarket, United Market Street, not the cheapest place in town but they have a great selection.  There were two steaks, each about 1 lb and about 1 inch thick.  Ribeye is one of the most expensive cuts of meat.  Tbone is also less here.

 

There are other places here which specialize in meats and they are cheaper.  I did not shop around, I just bought what they had.

 

I have several friends that raise cattle and after the fires here last year, prices have increased. 

 

I personally like pig, especially pork shoulder.  Smoke it about 8 hours and it falls apart.


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26 APR 2012 at 8:07pm

Theejl

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Originally Posted By Martok (25 APR 2012 4:38am)

I wonder if Hadubrand lives in Minnesota like myself, as those prices are very similar to what I pay. 

 

I live in MN too, NE metro area.  Get a membership to CostCo or Sam's Club.  Milk (skim) is usually $2.29 / Gallon.  I normally buy two a week for the family; worth the price of the membership ($50).  The price was around $1.79 / Gallon about a year ago.

 

3.99 * 2 * 52 = 415

 

2.29 * 2 * 52 = 238

 

$177 difference.

 

 



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27 APR 2012 at 1:45am

Seytan

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Originally Posted By Hadubrand (26 APR 2012 7:39pm)

I live in Wichita Falls, Texas.  The prices I quoted were from a supermarket, United Market Street, not the cheapest place in town but they have a great selection.  There were two steaks, each about 1 lb and about 1 inch thick.  Ribeye is one of the most expensive cuts of meat.  Tbone is also less here.

 

There are other places here which specialize in meats and they are cheaper.  I did not shop around, I just bought what they had.

 

I have several friends that raise cattle and after the fires here last year, prices have increased. 

 

I personally like pig, especially pork shoulder.  Smoke it about 8 hours and it falls apart.

 

Wow! Id have assumed Texas would have cheaper meat products considering it is a big exporter of meat yes? I also love Ribeye. Hell I love meat period!

 

 



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27 APR 2012 at 5:49am

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Food is highly tied to energy prices- both climb and fall together. If you live in a state that requires lables to have point of origin on them (like Montana) you'd be shocked how little comes from here and instead comes from China or Mexico. Also feed prices have sky rocketed because farmers make more growing corn for ethanol than growing it for people or animals. 40 percent of all corn is now grown for ethanol-and china meat demand has contributed as well.

 

At one point these things were counted-but after nixon took us off the gold standard they removed energy and food from the inflation index because "they were too volatile"--

 

The current administration- most of which do not fill a car tank or shop in supermarkets themselves-is real big on ethanol and other greeny ideas so we can expect the trend to continue until people start waking up-

 

seems Ron Paul is emerging as the only one in the room who can say "I told you so"

 

 

 

 


 

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27 APR 2012 at 8:53am

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I live in cattle country. I like to eat meat.

When I think there are people in less fortunate countries

who are starving because they cannot get ANY food at any

price the idea of growing crops to feed animals is unsettling.

The idea of turning crops into fuel for my car is almost obscene.

I like to eat fresh produce.  I eat it everyday.  It comes to the

grocery daily from places like California and Mexico by truck.

When I was a kid you didn't see much for fresh vegetables out of season.

I can afford to eat as I please.  Some people cannot get food.

A lot of people never think of this at all.

A person panhandling on the street around here makes more than

some african peasants who work all day long just for food.

I guess it really sucks to be them.


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27 APR 2012 at 9:02am

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I'm sure no one around here really cares about this, but at the end of the day the absolute level of any government statistic is not as important as the relative level of a statistic compared to itself during an earlier period. 

 

In other words, what you need to know is whether a statistic is moving up or down, and how fast.

 

So if you decide you don't like the way a certain statistic is calculated (and there's a lot not to like about a lot of them), saying that the correct number is really "x" is only meaningful in a gee-whizz barroom discussion context. 

 

May be good for shock value but it doesn't really tell you anything if you have to start comparing a statistic calculated the new way to a set of statistics calculated the old way.

 

In other words, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

 

 


  

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27 APR 2012 at 1:34pm

ActionJack

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Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 9:02am)

I'm sure no one around here really cares about this, but at the end of the day the absolute level of any government statistic is not as important as the relative level of a statistic compared to itself during an earlier period. 

 

In other words, what you need to know is whether a statistic is moving up or down, and how fast.

 

So if you decide you don't like the way a certain statistic is calculated (and there's a lot not to like about a lot of them), saying that the correct number is really "x" is only meaningful in a gee-whizz barroom discussion context. 

 

May be good for shock value but it doesn't really tell you anything if you have to start comparing a statistic calculated the new way to a set of statistics calculated the old way.

 

In other words, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

 

 

In some cases it makes all the difference.  If the unemployment number is decreasing because people have left the workforce, for an electorate, that's need to know information.  Equally, if prices are rising due to inflation because of monetary policy, hiding that fact by eliminating those commodities most affected by a devaluing of the currency does not serve a democracy.  There's no point in having votes born out of ignorance.

 


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27 APR 2012 at 1:52pm

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Believe it or not, economic statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates, so invoking voters in a democratic society is kind of irrelevant.  

 

They have a much more important function -- they're what you use as the backdrop for any economic decisions you might make if, say, you're private sector and have to make a realworld decision about buying, holding, or selling something.  That's far too real and important to be interfered with by someone's political whims.

 

If you'd ever worked on a trading desk you'd know what I'm talking about.

 

If you start introducing politics into this kind of thing the financial markets won't be able to function.


  

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

 

 


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27 APR 2012 at 3:45pm

cicerno

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Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 9:02am)

I'm sure no one around here really cares about this, but at the end of the day the absolute level of any government statistic is not as important as the relative level of a statistic compared to itself during an earlier period. 

 

In other words, what you need to know is whether a statistic is moving up or down, and how fast.

 

So if you decide you don't like the way a certain statistic is calculated (and there's a lot not to like about a lot of them), saying that the correct number is really "x" is only meaningful in a gee-whizz barroom discussion context. 

 

May be good for shock value but it doesn't really tell you anything if you have to start comparing a statistic calculated the new way to a set of statistics calculated the old way.

 

In other words, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

 

 

 

Excellent post. 

 

For a deeper discussion see Milton Friedman's Essays on Positive Economics. Or, in fact, anything by the positivists.

 

I don't think people here get what is so frustrating to me when they bandy about these absurd statistics and absurd arguments that they link from idiot special interest websites.

 

It shows a complete disregard for the truth or any interest in solving a problem whatsoever. 

 

Does the OP care about people unable to find a means to support themselves? Not in the least. He cares about getting 'his' politicians in his political party elected. We are supposed to think that if 'his' political party has complete control of government than everything will be perfect, despite the fact that we just lived through a period like that and everything was far, far, far from perfect.

 

If the OP cared about people unable to find a means to support themselves than he would actually work to define his terms and understand what he is talking about. He would take the time to understand not only the two methods used to determine the 'official' unemployment rate, and what those numbers specifically consist of, but he would also take the time to understand the other sources of data/information on the subject. 

 

Almost always in economics. Scratch that. ALWAYS in economics the correct answer is 'it depends'. Note how that is very different from the answer that some seem to think is always the correct answer: 'Vote Republican!'.


Here's the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for... ONE MILLION DOLLARS! 

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27 APR 2012 at 3:53pm

meadbelly

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Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 1:52pm)

Believe it or not, economic statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates, so invoking voters in a democratic society is kind of irrelevant.  

 

They have a much more important function -- they're what you use as the backdrop for any economic decisions you might make if, say, you're private sector and have to make a realworld decision about buying, holding, or selling something.  That's far too real and important to be interfered with by someone's political whims.

 

If you'd ever worked on a trading desk you'd know what I'm talking about.

 

If you start introducing politics into this kind of thing the financial markets won't be able to function.

 

I'm not following you. There are statistics that are so beyond the pale they are beyond damned lies. But these statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates?

 

I think I get that you are arguing that at least some statistics are important enough for non political partisan decisions (such as the ones you point; primarily business functions) that they are "untainted." That strikes me as entirely plausible. But I'm missing where you draw the line at "untainted" statistics and the tainted ones.

 

 

 

 



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27 APR 2012 at 4:52pm

cicerno

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Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 3:53pm)

 

I'm not following you. There are statistics that are so beyond the pale they are beyond damned lies. But these statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates?

 

I think I get that you are arguing that at least some statistics are important enough for non political partisan decisions (such as the ones you point; primarily business functions) that they are "untainted." That strikes me as entirely plausible. But I'm missing where you draw the line at "untainted" statistics and the tainted ones.

  

 

Here is an example:

 

Are you interested in the 'official' unemployment rate as a political tool so that you can claim that only 'x' number of people are 'unemployed?

 

Or are you interested in how many people have an income of at least 'y'? Or how many people in the potential market for product 'z' which will appeal to people in such and such an economic situation?


Here's the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for... ONE MILLION DOLLARS! 

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27 APR 2012 at 5:06pm

Philippe

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Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 3:53pm)

Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 1:52pm)

Believe it or not, economic statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates, so invoking voters in a democratic society is kind of irrelevant.  

 

They have a much more important function -- they're what you use as the backdrop for any economic decisions you might make if, say, you're private sector and have to make a realworld decision about buying, holding, or selling something.  That's far too real and important to be interfered with by someone's political whims.

 

If you'd ever worked on a trading desk you'd know what I'm talking about.

 

If you start introducing politics into this kind of thing the financial markets won't be able to function.

 

I'm not following you. There are statistics that are so beyond the pale they are beyond damned lies. But these statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates?

 

I think I get that you are arguing that at least some statistics are important enough for non political partisan decisions (such as the ones you point; primarily business functions) that they are "untainted." That strikes me as entirely plausible. But I'm missing where you draw the line at "untainted" statistics and the tainted ones.

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn't really matter whether a statistic is considered tainted or untainted.  The point is that one month's statistic is comparable to the previous month as long as you don't change the way it's calculated.  The markets move on the basis of the extent and the direction of the change. 

 

The guys in the government who produce these things are bean counters, nothing more.  The partisan slant gets put on the statistic after the fact by people who have a political axe to grind (like a lot of the people in this forum).  The underlying rationale of exactly what the beancounters count may be hopelessly flawed from an academic point of view, but as long as that flawed statistic is always counted exactly the same way, any movement in it is probably telling you something.

 

The way they calculate unemployment is silly.  But if you start messing with it you'll have to restate all the numbers for as far back as anyone can remember or people won't be able to get Ph.D's in economics because they won't have any comparable numbers to crunch.  The other problem is that if you start changing the way a statistic gets calculated you'll be manipulating the markets in a big way, because invariably half the people out there won't understand that anything has changed, and most won't really understand the implications of how it has changed.  Translation for the populist-minded: the small investor will get screwed big time because neither he nor his third-rate financial advisor (if he even has one) will really know what and how things have changed.

 

Statistics in and of themselves are usually fairly neutral. The problem is they don't usually mean what people think they mean.  Between the political soap-boxers who often don't understand what they're talking and/or the happy-talk newscasters who perpetuate misinformation, it's no wonder most people don't understand what those government numbers are supposed to mean. 

 

 


  

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

 

 


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27 APR 2012 at 5:25pm

meadbelly

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Originally Posted By cicerno (27 APR 2012 4:52pm)

Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 3:53pm)

 

I'm not following you. There are statistics that are so beyond the pale they are beyond damned lies. But these statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates?

 

I think I get that you are arguing that at least some statistics are important enough for non political partisan decisions (such as the ones you point; primarily business functions) that they are "untainted." That strikes me as entirely plausible. But I'm missing where you draw the line at "untainted" statistics and the tainted ones.

  

 

Here is an example:

 

Are you interested in the 'official' unemployment rate as a political tool so that you can claim that only 'x' number of people are 'unemployed?

 

Or are you interested in how many people have an income of at least 'y'? Or how many people in the potential market for product 'z' which will appeal to people in such and such an economic situation?

 

That's a rather poor example. You are discussing the use of statistics for political partisanship, and determining the value of the

statistics based on how others use them. That may be what phillipe is talking about, but he appears to be making an argument that some statistics are meaningful beyond how others use them.

 

I believe that phillipe is arguing that the "official" unemployment figure is merely another economic index. It is has never meant to represent all of the people in the US able to work but not. Many people use the figure as a political tool, but that does not mean that as a statistic it is developed for partisan political purposes.

 

That we have an electorate that might believe the "official" unemployment figure is a true representation of actual number of people who can't find work is a completely different topic. Calling it "The Rutabaga Rate" might defuse some of the quacks who believe that it's a deliberate conspiracy to misinform. I have no idea if we have any of those quacks on this thread or this board.

 

The difficulty I am having with what I perceive as Phillipe's argument is that there is a way to tell from the statistics themselves that they are "pure" or "tainted." That may very well be the case, but I wonder how much specialized knowledge (such as working at a trading desk) might be required for that determination. For those of us without that specialized knowledge, we probably have to fall back on the _source_ of that statistic. And sources can of course be partisan.

 

I think the general point phillipe is trying to make is that statistics are generally worthless without some kind of context, even if that context is as simple as the temporal trend of the statistic at any given moment. However, applying a political context to a statistic does not give it meaning in any way.

 

And yes, an electorate informed by facts rather than political partisanship would undoubtedly improve all our lives.



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27 APR 2012 at 6:02pm

meadbelly

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Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 5:06pm)

Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 3:53pm)

Originally Posted By Philippe (27 APR 2012 1:52pm)

Believe it or not, economic statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates, so invoking voters in a democratic society is kind of irrelevant.  

 

They have a much more important function -- they're what you use as the backdrop for any economic decisions you might make if, say, you're private sector and have to make a realworld decision about buying, holding, or selling something.  That's far too real and important to be interfered with by someone's political whims.

 

If you'd ever worked on a trading desk you'd know what I'm talking about.

 

If you start introducing politics into this kind of thing the financial markets won't be able to function.

 

I'm not following you. There are statistics that are so beyond the pale they are beyond damned lies. But these statistics are not generated with a view towards partisan political debates?

 

I think I get that you are arguing that at least some statistics are important enough for non political partisan decisions (such as the ones you point; primarily business functions) that they are "untainted." That strikes me as entirely plausible. But I'm missing where you draw the line at "untainted" statistics and the tainted ones.

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn't really matter whether a statistic is considered tainted or untainted.  The point is that one month's statistic is comparable to the previous month as long as you don't change the way it's calculated.  The markets move on the basis of the extent and the direction of the change. 

 

The guys in the government who produce these things are bean counters, nothing more.  The partisan slant gets put on the statistic after the fact by people who have a political axe to grind (like a lot of the people in this forum).  The underlying rationale of exactly what the beancounters count may be hopelessly flawed from an academic point of view, but as long as that flawed statistic is always counted exactly the same way, any movement in it is probably telling you something.

 

The way they calculate unemployment is silly.  But if you start messing with it you'll have to restate all the numbers for as far back as anyone can remember or people won't be able to get Ph.D's in economics because they won't have any comparable numbers to crunch.  The other problem is that if you start changing the way a statistic gets calculated you'll be manipulating the markets in a big way, because invariably half the people out there won't understand that anything has changed, and most won't really understand the implications of how it has changed.  Translation for the populist-minded: the small investor will get screwed big time because neither he nor his third-rate financial advisor (if he even has one) will really know what and how things have changed.

 

Statistics in and of themselves are usually fairly neutral. The problem is they don't usually mean what people think they mean.  Between the political soap-boxers who often don't understand what they're talking and/or the happy-talk newscasters who perpetuate misinformation, it's no wonder most people don't understand what those government numbers are supposed to mean. 

 

 

 

I have a hard time rationalizing "lies, damned lies, and statistics" and "statistics in and of themselves are fairly neutral." I do get the point about the movement of a statistic probably telling you something. I suppose that would apply even with the ". . . and statistics," as long as the statistic is measured/constructed consistently.

 

And yes, the repeal of Glass-Steagal is a excellent example of the vast majority losing badly because of so many not understanding what and how things changed.



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27 APR 2012 at 6:59pm

medck

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Not that it matters, but the headline inflation figure (CPI-U) does, in fact, include milk, fuel and steaks.

 

You can find it here: milk and steaks are on page 215; gasoline is p. 26 (home fuel supply costs are down BTW)

 

http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1201.pdf

 

Now, as several have pointed out, fuel and food prices are rather volatile (energy is up 25% year-on-year) so there are additional indices (the so-called "core" inflation index) that does not include food and energy.  It does, however, tend to track the overall "headline" inflation figure.  If the food/fuel surges and declines are more sustained they leak into other products' prices and it gets refelcted sooner or later.  If it is a temporary food/fuel blip, it dissapates.

 

Incidentally, milk prices are pretty much unchanged from their 2007 level when they were $3.70.  I saw it at $3.79 today in Winn-Dixie (not as good as Costco, I suppose).  But even the $3.99 figure quoted is a $0.29 rise in 5 years.  That's around 1% per year.  Ribeye was $8.69 -- but this is Alabama.  Of course, I recall that it used to be the case that steak of ANY sort was a rather special and expensive meal, not a once-a-week for the whole family thing.  As a measure of "inflation" on anything other than an anecdotal level, that's like my friend whose measure of inflatin is how much antique European furniture costs.

 

But in areas closer to all our hearts, I think the 10 year inflation rate on HPS games is about 0% -- same price, if not lower than I recall paying nearly a decade ago.  COmputers?  Well down in price.  Computer games, too.  All the wargames I wanted and couldn't afford for the old Apple ][ (Germany '85....) were $50 -- for 144kb of programming.  Now an HPS game like Fulda Gap goes for $49.95.  Even disregarding the bigger programming effort, the better graphics (ahem) and better game it still costs almost exactly the same 25 years later.  So maybe milk or ribeye costs 5% more this year; your computer costs a lot less and my WWIII wargame inflation is 0%



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27 APR 2012 at 8:04pm

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Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 5:25pm)

 

That's a rather poor example. You are discussing the use of statistics for political partisanship, and determining the value of the

statistics based on how others use them. That may be what phillipe is talking about, but he appears to be making an argument that some statistics are meaningful beyond how others use them.

 

I believe that phillipe is arguing that the "official" unemployment figure is merely another economic index. It is has never meant to represent all of the people in the US able to work but not. Many people use the figure as a political tool, but that does not mean that as a statistic it is developed for partisan political purposes.

 

That we have an electorate that might believe the "official" unemployment figure is a true representation of actual number of people who can't find work is a completely different topic. Calling it "The Rutabaga Rate" might defuse some of the quacks who believe that it's a deliberate conspiracy to misinform. I have no idea if we have any of those quacks on this thread or this board.

 

The difficulty I am having with what I perceive as Phillipe's argument is that there is a way to tell from the statistics themselves that they are "pure" or "tainted." That may very well be the case, but I wonder how much specialized knowledge (such as working at a trading desk) might be required for that determination. For those of us without that specialized knowledge, we probably have to fall back on the _source_ of that statistic. And sources can of course be partisan.

 

I think the general point phillipe is trying to make is that statistics are generally worthless without some kind of context, even if that context is as simple as the temporal trend of the statistic at any given moment. However, applying a political context to a statistic does not give it meaning in any way.

 

And yes, an electorate informed by facts rather than political partisanship would undoubtedly improve all our lives.

 

I don't think you are following what I am talking about here.

 

There is little to no 'partisan taint' to the 'official' unemployment rate. It is calculated the same all the time.  Anyone can access the sources and calculate it for themselves. 

 

What Philippe is talking about are the people claiming that the 'real' unemployment rate is 12% because they calculate it using a different criteria. It is in my opinion a much more accurate criteria, but it is meaningless unless they than go back and state the 'real' unemployment rate as they calculated it for every year past, not just back to 2007, all the way back to before the Great Depression. They then have to make the argument that all other things are being held equal.

 

The authors here are implying two things here:

 

1) The true unemployment rate of 12% is comparable to the 'official' unemployment rate pre-2009. 

2) That the Obama administration is using a different calculation than was used before 2009 in order to deceive the American people.

 

Both of these are lies.

 

It would only be a silly, freshman mistake if we weren't talking about economists and the WSJ. At the point that a person makes this argument in that media, publishing his credentials, he is no longer making a silly mistake, he is lying. Worse than that, he is also saying that we are stupid. 

 

Personally I get offended when people call me stupid. 

 

When people write this sort of garbage, when they pass it around the internet, they are stating that they don't care about the truth. They only care about scoring political points on one party or another. 

 

We have real problems in this country. Writing and passing around this nonsense is the reason why. 


Here's the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for... ONE MILLION DOLLARS! 

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27 APR 2012 at 11:53pm

meadbelly

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Originally Posted By cicerno (27 APR 2012 8:04pm)

Originally Posted By meadbelly (27 APR 2012 5:25pm)

 

That's a rather poor example. You are discussing the use of statistics for political partisanship, and determining the value of the

statistics based on how others use them. That may be what phillipe is talking about, but he appears to be making an argument that some statistics are meaningful beyond how others use them.

 

I believe that phillipe is arguing that the "official" unemployment figure is merely another economic index. It is has never meant to represent all of the people in the US able to work but not. Many people use the figure as a political tool, but that does not mean that as a statistic it is developed for partisan political purposes.

 

That we have an electorate that might believe the "official" unemployment figure is a true representation of actual number of people who can't find work is a completely different topic. Calling it "The Rutabaga Rate" might defuse some of the quacks who believe that it's a deliberate conspiracy to misinform. I have no idea if we have any of those quacks on this thread or this board.

 

The difficulty I am having with what I perceive as Phillipe's argument is that there is a way to tell from the statistics themselves that they are "pure" or "tainted." That may very well be the case, but I wonder how much specialized knowledge (such as working at a trading desk) might be required for that determination. For those of us without that specialized knowledge, we probably have to fall back on the _source_ of that statistic. And sources can of course be partisan.

 

I think the general point phillipe is trying to make is that statistics are generally worthless without some kind of context, even if that context is as simple as the temporal trend of the statistic at any given moment. However, applying a political context to a statistic does not give it meaning in any way.

 

And yes, an electorate informed by facts rather than political partisanship would undoubtedly improve all our lives.

 

I don't think you are following what I am talking about here.

 

There is little to no 'partisan taint' to the 'official' unemployment rate. It is calculated the same all the time.  Anyone can access the sources and calculate it for themselves. 

 

What Philippe is talking about are the people claiming that the 'real' unemployment rate is 12% because they calculate it using a different criteria. It is in my opinion a much more accurate criteria, but it is meaningless unless they than go back and state the 'real' unemployment rate as they calculated it for every year past, not just back to 2007, all the way back to before the Great Depression. They then have to make the argument that all other things are being held equal.

 

The authors here are implying two things here:

 

1) The true unemployment rate of 12% is comparable to the 'official' unemployment rate pre-2009. 

2) That the Obama administration is using a different calculation than was used before 2009 in order to deceive the American people.

 

Both of these are lies.

 

It would only be a silly, freshman mistake if we weren't talking about economists and the WSJ. At the point that a person makes this argument in that media, publishing his credentials, he is no longer making a silly mistake, he is lying. Worse than that, he is also saying that we are stupid. 

 

Personally I get offended when people call me stupid. 

 

When people write this sort of garbage, when they pass it around the internet, they are stating that they don't care about the truth. They only care about scoring political points on one party or another. 

 

We have real problems in this country. Writing and passing around this nonsense is the reason why. 

 

No, I get exactly what you are saying. And your insistence on twisting threads to your own agenda is why I identified your example as a stupid one. It had nothing to do with my questions regarding phillipe and everything with proselytizing your agenda. Which is precisely what you are accusing the OP of.

 

We have real problems in this country. Writing and passing around nonsense has NEVER been and NEVER will be the reason why. It is a founding principle of our nation that we expect our citizens to be able to interpret information without spin. It is the responsibility that comes with a society that values the individual enough to permit them to say largely any damn nonsense thing.

 

Believing nonsense, on the other hand, is a pretty serious problem. It's on par with personal hypocrisy and the often attendant lack of personal responsibility.

 

Otoh, being concerned about what others call you is less a national issue and more a personal one. I cannot provide any suggestions about the value you place on what other people call you without further offending you.

 

If you want the credibility of suggesting that what you are doing is attempting to inform individuals of actual-sense rather than non-sense, I strongly suggest you do that by starting your own informative threads. That would at least be one way of proving to yourself that steelgrave's bias against discussion with liberals is what's motivating his censorship of your political agenda on other people's threads.

 

 



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