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Rant or Puppies - Your choice

July 9th, 2008 at 10:22 am

OK, time for another random Merch rant. Iíve your having a plesant day, please skip to the bottom (after END RANT) to continue your pleasant day..

Last warningÖ. OK, I warned you.

-----Begin RANT-----------

So lately, I have been getting more and more irritated by people in general. I donít know whatís causing this in society or what. Maybe because we get our news from the internet or maybe it is that all news has hidden opinions or people are too lazy to research things. I donít know.

But my issues are basically: 1) If something is repeated a certain number of times it is considered fact 2) People reinvent the definition of words 3) Feelings are more important then facts.

So letís take a quick example. We are in a recession. I have heard this on the news and read it on the internet countless times. To the point where a recent survey found that the 75% of Americans believe we are in a recession.

Well, the definition is 2 quarters of negative growth. We havenít even had one quarter of negative growth.

Well, thatís on definition of recession. No, that is the definition of recession.

Well, I feel like I am in a recession, so we are. OK, I admit I canít argue feelings with logic.

Or another example. Inflation is out of control. And yes, I hear this on the news and read this on the internet all the time. The unadjusted 12 month CPI (April 2008) was 3.9%, which is hardly out of control. Source: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid0804.pdf

The average since 1947 has been 3.85% so inflation seems about normal year over year. Source: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/06/chart_of_the_we_3.html

Well you know, the government isnít taking into account oil or food properly so the methodology is wrong.

Really? Hereís what is measures:
ß FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, service meals and snacks)
ß HOUSING (rent of primary residence, owners' equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture)
ß APPAREL (men's shirts and sweaters, women's dresses, jewelry)
ß TRANSPORTATION (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance)
ß MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians' services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services)
ß RECREATION (televisions, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions);
ß EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION (college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories);
ß OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES (tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses).

-------BORING CPI STUFF--------------
Each month, BLS data collectors called economic assistants visit or call thousands of retail stores, service establishments, rental units, and doctors' offices, all over the United States to obtain information on the prices of the thousands of items used to track and measure price changes in the CPI. These economic assistants record the prices of about 80,000 items each month representing a scientifically selected sample of the prices paid by consumers for the goods and services purchased.
During each call or visit, the economic assistant collects price data on a specific good or service that was precisely defined during an earlier visit. If the selected item is available, the economic assistant records its price. If the selected item is no longer available, or if there have been changes in the quality or quantity (for example, eggs sold in packages of 8 when they previously had been sold by the dozen) of the good or service since the last time prices had been collected, the economic assistant selects a new item or records the quality change in the current item.
The recorded information is sent to the national office of BLS where commodity specialists who have detailed knowledge about the particular goods or services priced review the data. These specialists check the data for accuracy and consistency and make any necessary corrections or adjustments which can range from an adjustment for a change in the size or quantity of a packaged item to more complex adjustments based upon statistical analysis of the value of an item's features or quality. Thus, the commodity specialists strive to prevent changes in the quality of items from affecting the CPI's measurement of price change.
The CPI is a product of a series of interrelated samples. First, using data from the 1990 Census of Population, BLS selected the urban areas from which data on prices were collected and chose the housing units within each area that were eligible for use in the shelter component of the CPI. The Census of Population also provided data on the number of consumers represented by each area selected as a CPI price collection area. Next, another sample (of about 16,800 families each year) served as the basis for a Point-of-Purchase Survey that identified the places where households purchase various types of goods and services.

---------END BORING CPI STUFF-----------

Well, I feel that we are in a high inflation period.

I donít really understand what happened when feelings can override facts and people just except it. I feel that this is becoming more and more common place but I donít have any facts. (Did I just fall into my own trap?)

------END RANT------------

And for those just coming back to my blog.

Puppy dogs, warm spring days, and a cool breeze. Donít you feel better? I do.

7 Responses to “Rant or Puppies - Your choice”

  1. scfr Says:

    Great, now you've set me off on a rant: Women's DRESSES?!? How obsolete is that? Women - when was the last time you bought a dress? I can't remember but I would have to say at least 8 or 9 years in my case.

    Hmmm ... There couldn't possibly be an East Coast bias in there, could there?

    Thanks for ruining my day, Merch. Big Grin

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    That same mass-speculation frenzy has reared its ugly head many times. People on trial found not guilty are still assumed guilty by the public even if they don't know all the facts. Howard Dean's yelp suddenly makes him some kind of hapless buffoon even though he's the same smart guy he always was. John Kerry's military record gets challenged next to Bush's and he comes off sounding like some kind of wimp next to a guy who never saw a day of combat. A speaker at Paul Wellstone's funeral makes an impromptu speech about winning that is televised, and it's leapt on as a calculated political move that leads to emotional voting at the polls and Norm Coleman getting elected. All of these had data to the contrary that was readily available; mainstream media and thus water-cooler word-of-mouth and Internet chatter chose to ignore it for no reason.

  3. merch Says:

    scfr - you could have just skipped to the puppies Smile

  4. JanH Says:

    I scratch my head when people say that life as Americans know it is no more. Then, they tell us that we are too fat, lazy, and spend too much money. So, I am assuming that SOME changes in our lifestyle might not be too bad. I wonder if they realize that they are on both sides of the fence at the same time with these statements. Does get you tickled a bit, doesn't it?

  5. Petunia Says:

    LOL. Enjoyed the rant - at least I can follow your thought process which doesn't generally seem to be the case with rants. And I'm still having a nice day. Smile

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    Thanks for the reality check, merch. It was quite informative.

    I think you're right. Our economy has issues, but I don't think things are really as bad as some people make it out to be. I'm a little bit perplexed myself why the market is dragging as much as it has been lately. I think it's just that most people are not as informed and knowledgeable as you are about this.

    Still, rational or not, it only takes one cause a stampede....

  7. baselle Says:

    Sorry to say, I "feel" like its a tonic right now. I hated the slightly overheated economy of the past few years - the "you must spend or the t'rrists win" attitude. People got so overextended with credit that no matter how well the economy did they were screwed. I feel like the fever is breaking and we can give our cravings a rest.

    Another issue is that you can get all the facts derived from statistics that you want, but how twisted are the facts? Need to look underneath the statistics. Not a bad little article here:
    Text is http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/05/0082023 and Link is
    Thanks for the puppy though. It was delicious! Big Grin

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