The biggest bubble on the planet

Given that the entire planet is fixated on a nuclear disaster in the world’s 3rd largest economy, or the goings-on in Muslim nations yearning to breathe free, it seems logical that Miniplenty’s latest newspeak releases went largely unnoticed.

According to Miniplenty, the all item inflation index for consumers rose at a 0.5% monthly rate in February 2011, and a 2.1% annual rate. Seasonally adjusted ‘food at home’, essentially the measure of grocery prices, registered a 0.2% monthly increase and a 1.6% annual increase.

When you peel back these numbers and dive into the details, though, the story gets more interesting. You see, in a single month, the index for fruits and vegetables rose 2.2%, fresh vegetables rose 6.7%, the meat index rose nearly 2%, and the dairy index rose 0.6%.

Coincidentally, the US Department of Agriculture recommends multiple servings daily of fruits and vegetables, and daily servings of poultry, dairy, etc. How is it possible that the staple foods which make up this pyramid rose 0.6% to 6.7% in a single month, yet Miniplenty’s index only rose 0.2%?

Clearly for the purposes of calculating food inflation, the government expects everyone to eat Ramen Noodles and other chemically manufactured food-like substances… not the recommendations of its own Agriculture Department.

None of this actually matters anyhow.

US Federal Reserve policy decisions completely ignore rises in food and energy prices; somehow they’ve been able to convince otherwise reasonable people that this is a legitimate policy stance… after all, the Fed cannot affect the weather and geopolitical events, and creating trillions of new dollars in no way affects commodities prices, right?

Mainstream media dutifully parrots this logical discord… typically with language that reads something like this: “the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator, which strips out food and fuel prices, rose XYZ% last month…”

That’s funny, because it’s tax season right now, and -my- preferred method for calculating my own income is to only count onshore profits from the United States (which are negligible). Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t agree with me and insists that I use their preferred method (taxing my worldwide income).

Governments and their bedfellows are in the fortunate position of being able to continually redefine reality in their own image, at their sole discretion. If the numbers start looking ugly, they just change the calculation method.

Meanwhile, any bloke off the street can see the effects of rising inflation– anyone who has been to a grocery store, purchased an airline ticket, paid an insurance premium, written a property tax check, pumped gas, sent a kid to college, etc. can see that inflation is alive and well… despite what Mr. Bernanke’s ‘preferred indicator’ suggests.

The price of gold, the price of beef, the price of oil, the value of the dollar, or even that real wages in the US fell 0.5% in February alone– none of these registers an iota of importance in the ‘print now, print later’ doublethink at the Federal Reserve.

Through all of this money printing, there has been much talk (and evidence) of bubbles caused by monetary expansion– a bubble in the stock market, a bubble in commodities prices, a bubble in international real estate, a bubble in bonds, etc.

The truth is, the biggest bubble in the world right now is the bubble that Ben Bernanke and his cohorts live in– where prices are stable and cheap iPads matter. The rest of us live in a world outside of this bubble… and we’ve seen that even the most elaborate smoke and mirrors routine is fallible.

Falling wages, difficult job markets, and rising prices sow the seeds of revolution and pierce the corrupt veil of bureaucratic chicanery. Bernanke’s reckoning day is approaching.