So is inflation an issue as Sarah Palin has in her inarticulate way suggested?
The media, as represented by the newspapers above, not only accept the Consumer Price Index as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but also: (1): accept the rationale that food and energy prices should not be included in the price index because of their excessive volatility, and, (2): notify readers that such low inflation “bolsters” the Fed’s case to continue pumping up asset prices. Note that both papers link the happy inflation news to the $600 billion purchase with the word “bolster.” This has the whiff of a press release delivered by the Fed to the media.
It went unnoticed how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) relieved the volatile food and energy prices of volatility. The BLS also relieved the CPI of “extreme values and/or sharp movements [of prices] which might distort the seasonal pattern [which] are estimated and [are] removed from the data.” So out went milk, cheese, oil, and cars from the CPI, if they did not meet the BLS volatility criteria. (The excisions also include non-edibles and non-combustibles, including cards, trucks and textbooks.)
The Big Picture
via There is No Food Inflation; the BLS Made Sure of That.
via Has Iraq Stabilized?.
There is debate about collectivism and the source of the difficulties of the pilgrims.
It is true that Irish mortgages are “recourse” — that is, you can’t just turn in the keys and walk away from a property as you can in many parts of the United States. On the other hand, Irish residents can leave the country – moving to Britain or the United States is a well-established tradition for many families. And how can an Irish lender enforce debts when someone has emigrated?
That’s from Simon Johnson, interesting throughout.
via Department of Secondary Consequences.
I like economics. I find it always intellectually stimulating. I’d like to think it helps understand a little how some human affairs do work. I’d hope it sometimes gives insights on how human affairs should be managed. One area where it had an influence was the draft.
Not a lot of people know that economics and the arguments of economists played a part in end of the draft. Milton Friedman was a vocal opponent of the draft and had this exchange with the late General Westmoreland:
In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, “General, would you rather command an army of slaves?” Mr. Westmoreland replied, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.” Mr. Friedman then retorted, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.”
There’s more on the subject here.
I have opposed conscription both for it burden in taking talented people from valuable pursuits and because its an imposition on liberty. Now though I do wonder about the volunteer army making us less concerned about needless military adventures, and may have caused to go to war too lightly.
While Friedman’s volunteer army has fought the war in Iraq, Professor Friedman strongly opposed the Iraq war.
Inflation has an upside. Especially when you’re in a depression.
via Modeled Behavior