CNN calls BS on BLS
This is getting interesting. The proposition that the government is fudging the major economic figures is starting to go mainstream.
The process began with the publication of an article called, "Numbers Racket: The Economy is Worse than We Know" in the May issue of Harper's, by Kevin Phillips — the former GOP strategist who took a turn to the left in recent years. It cites the work of, among others, John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics.
As we noted here last week, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt produced an especially lame column that amounted to the start of the power elite's push-back against the Phillips piece, labeling it the stuff of "conspiracy theories."
But it's not working, witness an article on the CNNMoney site with the following lede: "Americans are feeling a lot more economic pain than the government's
official statistics would lead you to believe, according to a growing
number of experts. They argue that figures for unemployment and inflation are being understated by the government."
Well that's about as unambiguous as you can get, save for the clumsy and needless passive voice in the second sentence. It's all there — why CPI could be as high as 11%, unemployment 9%, quotes and/or citations from Phillips, John Williams, Bill Gross, and Peter Schiff. (Hey, why nobody from Agora Financial? We've been banging the drum for years.) If anything, the article comes off as rather unbalanced, with a lone paragraph stating, "The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produces both the CPI and
unemployment readings, says changes in both measures were made to more
accurately reflect the real world. The BLS also says the changes have
resulted in changes of less than 1% for each measure." (I assume the writer means one percentage point, and not one percent.)
It'll take a few more days to see whether this meme spreads to other media outlets, or if it peters out. Constant readers will recall I mused on the possibility months ago that Ron Paul could make it a campaign issue. He didn't, but it might become one regardless.