Our Deteriorating Economic Outlook: Serious Inflation On the Horizon

Editor's Note

​Have you noticed that prices seem to be rising faster than the official inflation numbers?

Independent of increasing prices, with food price increases are hidden two additional ways:  (1) reducing quantity or weight yet offering it with a similar price; and (2) reformulating the ingredients of a processed food with cheaper, and often unhealthier ingredients.

Please read and pay attention to this article by Dr Paul Craig Roberts, Guest Columnist, with Dave Kranzler and John Williams of www. shadowstats.com​.

The Deteriorating Economic Outlook

By Paul Craig Roberts, Guest Columnist (former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury), Dave Kranzler (www.investmentresearchdynamics.com) and John Williams (www.shadowstats.com)

July 8, 2014​

The third and final estimate (until the annual GDP revisions) of first quarter 2014 real GDP growth released June 25 by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis was a 2.9% contraction in GDP growth, a 5.5 percentage point difference from the January forecast of 2.6% growth. Apparently, the first quarter contraction was dismissed by those speculating in equities as weather related, as stock averages rose with the bad news.

Stock market participants might be in for a second quarter surprise. The result of many years of changes made to the official inflation measures is a substantially understated inflation rate. John Williams (www.shadowstats.com) provides inflation estimates based on previous official methodology when the Consumer Price Index still represented the cost of a constant standard of living. The 1.26% inflation measure used to deflate first quarter nominal GDP is unrealistic, as Americans who make purchases are aware.

A reasonable correction to the understated deflator gives a much higher first quarter contraction. The two main causes of inflation’s understatement are the substitution principle introduced during the Clinton regime and the hedonic adjustments ongoing since the 1980s that redefine price rises as quality improvements. Correcting for excessive hedonic adjustments gives a first quarter real GDP contraction of 5%. Correcting for hedonic and substitution adjustments gives a first quarter real GDP contraction of 8.5%.

Realistic economic analysis is a rarity. The financial press echoes Wall Street, and Wall Street economists are paid to help sell financial instruments. Gloomy analysis is frowned upon. Even negative quarters are given a positive spin.

Years of understatement of inflation has resulted in years of overstatement of GDP growth. Thinking about the many years of misstatement, we realized that the typical computation in nominal terms of the ratio of debt to GDP is seriously misleading.

Consider that debt is issued in nominal terms and repaid in nominal terms (except for a few Treasury bonds with inflation adjustments). However, nominal wealth or nominal GDP overstates real economic strength. The debt is growing, but both the nominal and real values of the output of goods and services are not keeping up with the rise in debt.

To understand how risky the rise of debt is, nominal debt must be compared to real GDP. Spin masters might dismiss this computation as comparing apples to oranges, but such a charge constitutes denial that the ratio of nominal debt to nominal GDP understates the wealth dilution caused by the government’s ability to issue and repay debt in nominal dollars. We know that inflation favors debtors, because debts can be repaid in inflated dollars.

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Economic Health: Gold is Probably Gone, Real Inflation Understated, Recession is Coming

Economic Health: Gold is Probably Gone, Real Inflation Understated, Recession is Coming

Is the death of the dollar a "when" instead of an "if"?I encourage you to listen to Dr. Roberts interview with King World News.  The economy is much worse shape than policy makers are indicating.  Many of the figures are overstated or understated our economic health, depending on the outcome desired.

If a private citizen or business did what the government is doing, would we be sued or at worse in jail?

Is your assets in paper only, whether certificates, stocks, money, etc.?  Do you have possession of those paper assets?  Or can you physically touch your assets?

In law we have a rule:  Possession is 9/10’s of ownership.  You can “own” something but if someone else has physical possession and a dispute erupts, then how are you going to get it?  This is what causes many lawsuits, trying to get possession of things that people claim they owed but are being denied ownership rights.  Many times while the litigation is ongoing the value of the property dissipates.

Listen to Dr. Roberts’s brief interview about the nation’s economic health by clicking 6-28-2014 Roberts interview.