Been Pondering On This One For A Bit

OK....let us consider this passage from Mr Cohen over at Decline of the Empire.

What are we supposed to think when the government releases statistics that fly in the face of every other non-government indicator we have? Should we conclude that the "official story" is merely propaganda? That the government methodology is flawed? Assuming no one is actually changing the numbers before the public sees them, we might surmise that the "flaws" in the analysis are driven by a hidden, unconscious bias in the methodology which puts a positive slant on the results.
These are deep mysteries, but the "official story" stands because it is the sanctioned view of our economic reality. People like me or Mish, who question those numbers, can be safely dismissed as wacko bloggers. The point of contention is September retail sales from the Census Bureau—
OK, now for the hard part, taking out ones preconceptions and analyzing them in the light of day.

Since the eighties, when that fucking fraud Ronald Reagan sold us the idea that anything government was bad, we have developed a mindset of immediate distrust of anything government.  Now, to a certain degree, this is a healthy skepticism that should be nurtured.

But consider the phrase "every other non-government indicator".  Now what the fuck does that mean.  Dry scholastic tomes from the ivory tower?  They sure as hell don't have any credibility from where I sit.  Business and corporate projections?  Yeah, I certainly trust those bastards.

So what we are left in is that we are swimming in a sea where all references are suspect.  Where any reduction of the data set to produce a decent sized solution space is suspect in a fundamental way, because the reductions are done per the requirements of power elites that have no desire to see that my needs have any forum or are considered.

I would recommend that one starts considering the economic projections coming out of the whores and charlatans that populate the government bureaucracies, K Street, corporate boardrooms, and Universities the same way you consider a sportwriter.  An interesting read, but in fact, having nothing to do with the game.

Comments

russell1200 said…
A lot of the information is sketchy. The government compilers don't nearly have the information at hand to derive such exact figures. If you look at how the census compiles a lot of their figures it is rather obvious.

However, over time, you can generally see the trend line. But you often need 4 years of data. And everyone spouts off on a month-to-month basis. Look at the plus or minus data on census housing data, and tell me the data has any use in the near term.

And here is where they cheat. They do change how they compile the numbers. They don't lie. They tell you they are doing it. But our lazy press cannot be bothered to distinguish between the different time series: even when the old series is being kept up through other sources.

Mish makes some good points but he has a real mean streak. If I am interested in numbers, I go with Calculated Risk.