A "Slightly Exaggerated" $15.8 Billion Accounting Error

Alan Abelson, in his column in Barron’s, notes that the $9.1 billion drop in Consumer Installment Debt in May makes it four months in-a-row that this debt balance went down, and that “Credit card use (so-called revolving debt) shrank by $7.4 billion, extending its string of monthly declines to 20.” Yikes!

Perhaps realizing the powerful emotional impact such a dismal, horrifying fact produces on paranoid, fearful people like me, you can see where he tried to make a subtle joke out of his next terrifying revelation, which was that “April’s reported increase of $954.8 million, it turns out, was slightly exaggerated and duly revised to a drop of $14.9 billion.” Hahaha! “Slightly exaggerated”! Hahaha!

So, after saying, “thanks for the clever and subtle humor, Alan, and in graciously trying to protect my precious remaining brain cells from exploding in fear at the horror of what you are saying!” I realized that there were lots of people on whom such literary gems are wasted, and/or insouciantly have the brain cells to waste, and they want only to know one thing: “How can I use this information to make a lot of money, in a hurry, without working?”

Hey! Now that I have thought about it, that’s how I feel, too! So without further ado, the facts are that this was an error of $15.8 billion on an original estimate of less than $1 billion, which produces an error rate of 1,605%! Suddenly, I involuntarily leap to my feet and scream in outrage, “What in the hell is going on here?”

My own outburst surprised even me, which is not to mention how it so startled my wife that she spilled a spoonful of milk and Cheerios as she was lifting it to her mouth, and which splashed into the bowl containing more milk and cereal where (and this is the funny part) a droplet of milk inexplicably splashed all the way up, up, up, breaking laws of physics the whole way, onto her nose, but she didn’t realize it.

Being the kind-hearted and real peach of a guy that I am, I helpfully tell her about it so that she would, you know, stop looking so stupid with that drop milk hanging off her stupid nose. So I lovingly say, “Hey, doofus! You got a big honking drop of milk on your stupid nose and you look like a doofus! Hahaha!”

Well, she, without a word, wipes the milk from her nose, and I could see that she has misinterpreted my kindly interest in her appearance, which I do so that people (me included) don’t get disgusted and mistake her for someone so clueless, so stupid and so oblivious that she doesn’t even know to buy gold, silver and oil when the Federal Reserve is creating So Freaking Much (SFM) money, especially so that the insane Congress and White House can borrow and spend that SFM money to fund and expand entitlement programs and new, weird-and-wasted stimulus programs, so that when they write the history books about this era, the perplexing problem will be people arguing about just what in the hell was the matter with us that the American electorate believed in the proverbial ‘free lunch’ and elected politicians to give it to them, but which may explain why people bizarrely have drops of milk hanging off their noses.

I had originally thought that I would be amused by this milk-on-nose thing and Mr. Abelson’s funnies, but now I see that I am, instead, outraged that such an egregious governmental error could possibly be made! What kind of lying, deceptive, treacherous morons could make a mistake of 1,605%?

I mean, you should hear the crap I have to put up with at work when my stupid boss starts yammering about how my budget projections are off by 2%, or 5%, or 20%, or sometimes 70%!

But as for the debt itself, this fall in accumulated debt is, obviously, not a good sign for an economy that is based upon consumption that is financed by a stupid fiat money multiplied by laughably lax fractional-reserve ratios in the banks, like ours.

You can relax, however, because debt is less than mox nix for an economy that is already based upon a Federal Reserve that will insanely create So Freaking Much (SFM).

And the reason for the, shall we say “mox nixity” of all that staggering new money and new debt is that Congress could – literally anytime it wanted – legislate a 100% write-off of all debt for all debtors, a corresponding tax credit for the stiffed lenders, and with the Federal Reserve ever ready to create, as is popularly known, a Freaking Butt-Load (FBL) of new money to loan, or even just give, to everybody!

And don’t believe for a minute that these kinds of things won’t happen, in one form or another, as history has shown that there is no depth to which a corrupt government will not sink when it is desperate.

And that brings up the corollary that there should be no limit to the amount of gold, silver and oil you should buy when the government and the Federal Reserve are sinking into such a cesspool of fiscal and monetary insanity, which makes the decision to buy gold, silver and oil so easy that it makes you happily squeal with delight, “Whee! This investing stuff is easy!”

The Mogambo Guru
for The Daily Reckoning