Tuesday, May 06, 2008

CPI, Recession, and all that Stuff

I don't know about y'all, but regardless of the numbers the good ol U.S. government is throwing at us, I do believe we're in the midst of a big, fat, recession.

In the US, the judgment of the business-cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research regarding the exact dating of recessions is generally accepted. The NBER has a more general framework for judging recessions:

"A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. A recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough."

I'm not quite sure what most of that means, and I'm almost certain that it's not meant that I do (takes a degree in economics to know what the hell is going on). What I do know is that around the delta here, wages and salaries haven't risen even a penny but everything else sure has and my figures aren't gee-hawing with the Consumer Price Index numbers. Do the folks who come up with those CPI figures use the same calculators that the rest of us do?

The CPI claims that food prices, overall, have only risen 4.2% from March 2007 to March 2008, but I haven't seen even one item in the grocery store that hasn't, at least, increased that much. Many of the basic food items have increased so much that it feels more like I'm shopping in a jewerly store than a food store.

According to the CPI, beef prices have only increased 3.1% from a year ago. When I do the figuring I come up with an 87% increase, but then I'm only talking about that one package of 2 steaks that I could afford to buy a year ago. CPI figures eggs increased 29.9%, where I shop the increase figures up to a 68% increase, that's a big difference in calculations there. Maybe I need to put on a suit and tie so my brain will work better, ya think?

I've also been reading little tidbits here and there that the same good ol U.S. government is considering a tax on snack foods to combat obesity. Holy Shit, who can afford snack foods? I believe if they'd get their heads out of the fairway holes and their asses out of those plush chairs at the Country Club restaurants, they'd be able to look around and see that the normal, everyday working stiffs are having to supplement their meat dishes with a load of starchy foods such as pasta and rice (which has also risen ridiculously in price) so they won't go to bed hungry. That'll combat obesity right there, yessiree.

Dare I mention that it costs $1.50 more in gas for me to go to the grocery today than it did a year ago?

What's going to happen to the folks on fixed incomes, the ones working for minimum wage, the ones who haven't seen a raise over the past 2 or 3 years, the ones who were barely making ends meet to begin with?

Let's just fire all those folks over there in D.C. and start all over. I think we should buy them a Wal Mart calculator too.

Jerri took the two photos above of Jordan and Alexis at their ballgames. Jordan's team came in 2nd in their tournament last weekend and Alexis's team have won one and lost one.

Zach went fishing with his Pop-Pop on Sunday morning and all he brought home was this little dude. I told him that sure didn't look like a fish to me!


Crystal said...

LOL! Walmart calculator! I love it;o) LOVE LOVE LOVE THE PHOTOS!!!! You know I just LOVE me some baseball and those kids are just too cute...yeah, even that there snake;o)

Sally said...

Well, I sure don't know what a person should call what we're in if not a recession. Before we know it, we may be in a depression. I'll say this, though, more people will be applying for food stamps before it's over. I mean, like you say the ones living (or trying to) on minimum wage. I don't know of anyone around here who has had a "raise" of any kind. For myself, on Social Security; yeah you get a tiny raise, then they up the cost of Medicare hospital insurance so you get zilch really. I try not to buy anything that's not on sale, and will only purchase "store brand" like bread. It's just the way it is.

Sorry, Ms. Brenda.

I LOVE the pictures also!!

mreddie said...

The political cartoon would be a bit humorous if it were not so true. Great photos! ec

bichonpawz said...

OMG you are toooooo much, Brenda! You make me laugh. But. I totally agree with you that prices are just getting totally out of hand!! $50.00 of groceries will fit in one bag now!

Virginia Gal said...


Yes economics and all of this latest financial information requires several masters degrees : )

As far as I understand it from my one economics class (that I took last spring), a recession is when we have six consecutive months of negative growth (our GDP). And our GDP is made up of American exports (which should be up, since our dollar is down), but also our consumption purchases (clearly down), purchases by private firms (probably down in late of all the bad financial returns) and finally government purchases (well there is an obvious negative since so many people are defaulting on loans, probably means less incoming taxes).

Hence P. Bush's economic stimulus is the simple man's solution to this problem, it increases not only government spending (by giving back to us) but also hopefully has us consumers purchasing which will in turn affect private firms to spend more. But it generally doesn't work that way....

Andie Pandie said...

Yup stuff is going up like crazy. It's insane the total that comes up at the grocery store.

Jeeze, a tax on snacks?! Clearly they have no clue about anything.

sbvor said...

It is increasingly unlikely that we are currently in a recession:
The Recession of 2008 That Wasn’t?

Brenda said...

That's a load of bull sbvor, how can anyone have actual unemployment figures when the figures are based on the number of people currently drawing unemployment insurance? Once that runs out and they're still not employed, they're not counted.

Cal said...

It's the same here, Brenda. Official inflation is way below what people are actually paying in the shops and wage rises just won't cover it.

Donna said...

TRUE TRUE TRUE!!! Every Bit of it!!! And IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE!!!! Hang in there sweetie!! Cute photos of the babies!! Zach is Smiling this time!!LOL...hughugs

Donna said...

PS-,,,Get him girl!!LOL...hughugs

sbvor said...

Brenda, et al:

You’ve been exposed to way too much Leftist propaganda.

Quoting the BLS definition:

“Unemployed persons: All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.”

Kindly notice that there is no mention of “drawing unemployment insurance”.

Now, take another look at the objective, quantitative, non-partisan facts:

The Recession of 2008 That Wasn’t?

Brenda said...

Yep, I know of the other formula they use too but I still totally believe the figures are WAY, WAY, low. Whatever they call it, a recession to me is when that $100 that was spent last year buys less than half of what it did this year.

I don't have a bunch of degrees but I have a whole hell of a lot of common sense. The folks who come up with these random figures with their random formulas might starve some day, I know how to plant a garden and preserve it.