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The Chapwood Index

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 03/20/2016 - 19:01

I've been going on for sometime about what I view to be the cynically dishonest calculation for the headline unemployment number, otherwise known as U3. Which number only the most blatant of our government's paid shills in the press and the most willfully ignorant of both left and right wing partisans are able to tout without cringing.

This morning we'll look into what I view to be the equally dishonest inflation numbers being offered up as factual by the Federal Government's Bureau of Labor Statics or BLS and worse yet supposedly beiing used to drive monetary policy at the Federal Reserve.

Ed Butowsky, managing partner for Chapwood Equities has developed his own method for calculating the rate of inflation and has compiled it into "The Chapwood Index".

That's Ed over there on the right.

Click on the image below for a trip to the Chapwood Index.

Here's a short history of the CPI as seen by Mr. Butowsky.

"In 1983, the government CPI rose roughly 12% and the government modified the CPI calculation to save money. In order to save money on salary increases and entitlement benefits, which are tied to CPI, the government changed their calculation of the CPI to reflect a much lower number.

The statistic underwent another reconfiguration in 1995/96 with the Boskin Commission. These changes made the CPI an even worse indication of the real cost of living increase.

It is estimated that between 1996 and 2006, this reconfiguration of the CPI saved the US government over $680 billion.

Since then, the government has been artificially deflating the CPI to keep figures as low as possible. The readings you see published today no longer represent the real out of pocket expenditures incurred by most Americans.

The government’s baseline CPI measure excludes items such as taxes, energy, and food; which are not only necessities, but also often a majority of our daily expenditures.

The CPI increase from 2008-2012 was a total of 10.2%, but our research has found that for many cities, the cost of living increase was more than that in 2012 alone.  The increase was slightly more in 2013."

... and furthermore ...

"While the CPI was originally a measure to evaluate a pre-defined, consistently weighted basket of goods, over time, the basket of goods grew to an unreasonable 80,000+ items, muting dramatic price changes in common goods and services.By adding too many layers of complexity and algorithms you lose the organic, real results in a muddled mix of diluted data.

Perhaps more dangerous have been the changes in the way the CPI is calculated and consistent manipulated to keep government expenditures down and mislead the public with misinformation."

I'm not entirely sure about the bolded sentence above. Among the reasons I am not entirely sure about the bolded sentence above is that having actually gone over to the Bureau of Labor Statistics site in an effort to figure out just exactly what the hell they are doing to come up with their rate of inflation, I run into a lot of stuff like this,  or this.  Then there's this,  and of course, that. 

Actually I read most of what BLS offers on the subject and came away from the experience with the distinct impression that on this particular subject, there is a sincere desire on the part of the Bureau of Labor Stastics to baffle with bullshit.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, I give creedence to Mr. Butowsky's method on the basis that it makes sense to me when he explains it in plain English.

The Chapwood Index reflects the true cost-of-living increase in America. Updated and released twice a year, it reports the unadjusted actual cost and price fluctuation of the top 500 items on which Americans spend their after-tax dollars in the 50 largest cities in the nation.

It exposes why middle-class Americans — salaried workers who are given routine pay hikes and retirees who depend on annual increases in their corporate pension and Social Security payments — can’t maintain their standard of living. Plainly and simply, the Index shows that their income can’t keep up with their expenses, and it explains why they increasingly have to turn to the government for entitlements to bail them out.

It’s because salary and benefit increases are pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which for more than a century has purported to reflect the fluctuation in prices for a typical “basket of goods” in American cities — but which actually hasn’t done that for more than 30 years.

The middle class has seen its purchasing power decline dramatically in the last three decades, forcing more and more people to seek entitlements when their savings are gone. And as long as pay raises and benefit increases are tied to a false CPI, this trend will continue.

The myth that the CPI represents the increase in our cost of living is why the Chapwood Index was created. What differentiates it from the CPI is simple, but critically important. The Chapwood Index:

Reports the actual price increase of the 500 items on which most Americans spend their after-tax money. No gimmicks, no alterations, no seasonal adjustments; just real prices.

Shines a spotlight on the inaccuracy of the CPI, which is destroying the economic and emotional fiber of our country.

Shows how our dependence on the CPI is killing our middle class and why citizens increasingly are depending upon government entitlement programs to bail them out.

Claims to persuade Americans to become better-educated consumers and to take control of their spending habits and personal finances.


Again, click on the spreadsheet above for some plain English regarding the increase in the cost of living across 50 or so American cities.


More charts and stuff

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 07:59


On account of us having barely even put a dent in the pile of stuff we've collected recently, here's a little more.

Since it's the morning after the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in their contest to determine the next President of the United States, and the subject of "taxing the rich" is bound to have come up, let's start with tax rates.

Romney's 2011 tax rate was significantly lower at about 13.6% than was Obama's at about 21%.

Romney's giving exceeds that of Obama by a score of 29% to 24%. 

At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse, we think everybody should be paying the same rate after a substantial personal deduction and that charitable giving should only be an issue if some selfish little turd who gives next to nothing out of his personal account happens to be running for the office of Vice President.




We know this and are positive that you know it as well, but it is certainly worth repeating. 

Charts like statistics can be fudged, as is pointed out in these two views of America's 'housing recovery.



We posted these two a while back.

Both employment/population and the labor force participation rate of men are in serious decline.




Not to worry though as our government with money provided by the American people supplies many, many, many of our poorest and less fortunate souls with food, clothing and shelter in abundance.



The following depiction accurately ... we think ... conveys how we determine who it is that needs the most help providing for their own living arrangements.

Fair is fair.


And many Americans need this help as large percentages of the American people have less than a $100 cash reserve for emergencies.



Part of the problem might just be that the value of the unit in which people are getting paid, the dollar, declines in value year after year after year after year after ......

Yeah, yeah you've seen this one before.





While the rate of change in average hourly earnings is also in decline.




I believe that we have mentioned that those scalawags over there at the government are living large.




We're guessing that not one word of any of this with the exception of that "tax the rich" thing was mentioned last night.

Out of time ..... gotta scoot.


Anybody bought a box of Cheerios lately?

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 03/24/2012 - 07:49


From Zero Hedge who evidently has drawn enough mainstream attention to be noticing some blowback.

While our government economists assure us that inflation is under control at under 2%, General Mills is having a completely different experience, and is of course passing that experience on to you.

Just skip down to the red.



Charts, Charts and more Charts

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 18:28


The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week the creation of some two million "seasonally adjusted" jobs and a reduction in the rate of unemployment to 8.3%

The press release was breathlessly reported by all the major media outlets across the nation if not the world, none of whom bothered to pull out their calculators and check the number.

The problem with 8.3% aside from the "seasonal adjustments" the formulas for which have never (to my knowledge) been explained anywhere, is the fact that millions and millions ... and millions and millions of Americans of employment age have and continue to be dropped from the count.

For a discussion of how these particular numbers get massaged by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, click on the first chart below for John Williams' outstanding primer at Shadow Government Statistics.

Take note of Mr. Williams calculated rate of about 23% and consider that unemployment during the great depression hit it's high of about 25% in 1933, which number I believe was calculated using Mr. Williams preferred method (the blue line).




The following chart is a simple history of the Fed Funds Rate since 2007.

The second chart is all over the place in multiple formats usually with a notation to note the decline since 1914 when the Fed came into existence with the expressed charge of preserving the purchasing power of the dollar.

The third chart demonstrates the comparable success of the Bank of England in it's pursuit of the exact same charge.



Remember when we were gonna fix that too big to fail thing?



Finally as stated, the total credit market debt owed from 2001 through 2010.



Have a pleasant evening.



Sometimes a list is all you need

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 08/19/2011 - 06:22


Your government along with the Fed, which is not your government it merely owns your government, has been telling you that inflation is only about 3.5%

The following is from Greg Hunter at, who links you up with for additional (slightly more analytical while at the same time significantly more pissed off) analysis.


Ben Bernanke announced his QE2 policy in August 2010.

Here are your results:


•Unleaded gas prices are up 45%.

•Heating oil prices are up 46%

•Corn prices are up 71%

•Soybean prices are up 26%

•Rice prices are up 13%.

•Pork prices are up 31%

•Beef prices are up 25%

•Coffee prices are up 38%

•Sugar prices are up 48%

•Cotton prices are up 13%.

•Gold prices are up 42%.

•Silver prices are up 115%.

•Copper prices are up 23%


Forget about that, you don't use most of that stuff anyway.


Sometimes a chart ...

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 05/28/2011 - 14:20


We've posted several different charts demonstrating this same idea over the past couple of years.

This one happens to come from Bullion Management Group using data supplied by The Sauder School of Business via R.E. McMaster.

When people start talking about Governments defaulting on their obligations via inflation, this is exactly what they're talking about.

You might want to think that the price of Gold or stocks or gasoline or cornflakes is going up.

When what is really happening is that the purchasing power of your Dollar or Euro or Pound is going down.



And they're all doing it.


Gas for 20 cents a gallon

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 07:45


We've been bombed with this one over the past two days.

It's everywhere someone is bemoaning inflation/promoting gold or silver/hating the FED and/or the government in general.

Lew Rockwell's blog provides the best commentary here, or click on the photo.

If you give it just a little thought, it's revealing in the extreme.

Unfortunately, it ain't those greedy oil companies after all.

Gas would still be the same 20 cents a gallon it was in the 60's were it not for your government having destroyed the value of your money.





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