The Great CPI Deception

You’ll have to forgive the Ludlumesque title of this article. But there’s just no other way to describe it.

The following is an unedited transcript of dialogue at a clandestine meeting. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the person known only as “Informant!” has provided startling information.

A vast and shadowy network of agents is at work. Their activities are directed at ensuring the true state of inflation is never known by “the masses,” who would surely revolt were the actual numbers ever revealed.

Be Very Afraid
Be Very Afraid

Despite what we can all agree is properly merited admiration, we duly respect Informant!’s wishes to remain unrecognized for the eye-opening revelations the following transcript provides. Although Informant! agreed to have the proceedings videotaped, Informant! remained hidden in the shadows for the duration of the interview.

As per insistence from Informant!, the interview was formatted as videotaped deposition testimony; it is Informant!’s belief this testimony may at some point be admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.

Also as per instructions from Informant!, I must make a few things clear at the outset: This transcript should only be read, in its entirety, in a secure location. You should read this alone. No pets, particularly reptilian pets, should be present. You should believe every word that follows as the unvarnished truth, and you should never question whether anything Informant! says is indeed the real, actual truth. That much should be obvious.

Roll Tape

VIDEOGRAPHER: Begin Tape 1 of the testimony of Informant! in the matter of The Great CPI Deception. Present for today’s secretive proceedings are FinanciaLibre and Informant!

FINANCIALIBRE: Thank you, Ms. videographer. You look lovely.

VIDEOGRAPHER: Aw, thanks, FL. You look pretty good yourself.

FINANCIALIBRE: Before we begin, I’d like to establish the basis for today’s testimony so that any who dare review our proceedings may have a full complement of facts at their disposal.

INFORMANT!: That will be agreeable. For the record, I may need to excuse myself occasionally to replenish the aluminum foil in my helmet. Its cerebral-protection qualities erode rapidly once applied.

FINANCIALIBRE: Outstanding. I can tell we’re in good hands.

Now, you contacted me recently in response to a fake National Enquirer headline I made up reading: “Janet Yellen Births Twin-Headed Alligator Baby, Admits to Decades of Falsified Economic Statistics; Ben Bernanke Implicated in Both Stories. Shocking Photos!”

INFORMANT!: Yes, that is correct. Sort of.

FINANCIALIBRE: Can you please explain that?

INFORMANT!: I contacted you because of the headline you quoted. But it is not a fake headline at all. In fact, it’s not even your headline. It’s from the future.

Which is why I contacted you, because it means you’re not one of them. It means the freedom fighters who live underground in the future trust you enough with the information to risk providing it to you so you can try to change the arc of history. They must have figured out how to plant the headline in your brain.

FINANCIALIBRE: Hmm. Have you seen any of the Terminator movies or 12 Monkeys?

INFORMANT!: No. Why?

FINANCIALIBRE: Just curious. Ok. So the fake headline I made up is not fake, but rather true. Just not true yet?

INFORMANT!: It’s always been true. Time is a flat circle. You obviously don’t understand physics.

FINANCIALIBRE: You know, that flat circle thing sounds familiar. Is that a quote from season one of True Detective, or maybe a Lincoln SUV commercial?

INFORMANT!: No. I invented that. It’s possible Lincoln stole it. In fact, upon reflection, I’m certain they stole it.

FINANCIALIBRE: Excellent. Now, at the time of our initial contact, you indicated to me there is evidence of a vast governmental conspiracy at work to exert mind control over the population by manipulating CPI data. Is that correct?

INFORMANT!: Yes. And I’ll add that you shouldn’t ever get into a Lincoln Town Car. They’re all bugged.

FINANCIALIBRE: Does the aluminum helmet help?

INFORMANT!: No, not in a Town Car. It’s aluminum’s only weakness. But aluminum does help protect the brain from the CPI conspiracy.

FINANCIALIBRE: So Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke are in charge of a conspiracy to maliciously manipulate inflation data, is that correct?

INFORMANT!: They’re more like middle managers. But, yes, Consumer Price Index data are being actively manipulated – and have been for some time – to promote compliance and submissiveness in the population.

FINANCIALIBRE: Which means, if I understand you correctly, we cannot trust governmental economic data. Just how misleading are the published statistics?

INFORMANT!: Oh, they’re way off! Actual inflation is closer to 47%. Sometimes it gets as high as 48%. Per month!

FINANCIALIBRE: Without relying upon government data, how have you been able to compile your alternative measure of inflation?

INFORMANT!: I have my methods. Mainly late-night secret meetings with unnamed government officials.

FINANCIALIBRE: Sounds steamy.

INFORMANT!: Sometimes.

FINANCIALIBRE: Can data provided as part of publicly owned companies’ SEC reporting requirements be used at all to understand true inflation? Or what about publicly available aggregated industry data compiled by private industry groups?

There are often reconciliations of private data against government data, and they show an overwhelming level of statistical similarity. What do you have to say about this?

INFORMANT!: Isn’t it obvious? They’re in on it. They’re all in on it. Look. Look right here!

VIDEOGRAPHER: For the record, Informant! has withdrawn a crumbled page of newsprint from his helmet. It appears to be a newspaper article.

FINANCIALIBRE: Would you be so kind as to read the title of the newspaper article and provide its place and date of publication?

INFORMANT!: The title is “Epic Fall in Food Prices Brings No Joy to Farmers or Grocers” and the article was published on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on August 30, 2016.

FINANCIALIBRE: Can you please summarize the article?

INFORMANT!: It talks about how excess supply for dairy, meat, grains and other staple household products has led to price declines for these products. It also mentions lower energy costs, lower transportation costs and lower costs of refrigeration. A gallon of milk is cited as down in price 11% year-over-year, and the price of a dozen eggs is down 40% since last year. The data for these price changes are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who is responsible for the CPI.

The article goes on to describe the effects these lower prices are having on farmers and grocers. Many farmers are facing dramatic profit declines and are forgoing additional capital investment in their businesses. Some dairy farmers are just pouring out millions of gallons of milk because it’s unprofitable to sell. Futures prices observed at the Chicago Board of Trade correspond with these anecdotes, indicating seven-year lows for corn bushels.

Publicly owned national food retailers like Costco and Whole Foods, as well as food distributors like Sysco and US Foods Holding Corp. also have reported depressed profit margins, linking those business difficulties with lower consumer prices. These companies reported this information in public disclosures made in compliance with reporting requirements of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The word “deflation” is included several times in the article.

FINANCIALIBRE: Thank you. That was an unexpectedly lucid and complete summary.

It doesn’t really sound like the article supports your thesis. If anything, it suggests pretty solid evidence that CPI data would be virtually impossible to materially misrepresent.

It seems obvious there are just far too many people paying lots of close attention to the data and reconciling CPI data against other information from non-governmental sources.

Do you think it’s more likely that people who perceive “actual” inflation differs from the CPI statistics might just be misperceiving the effect, or maybe misunderstanding how the CPI works?

INFORMANT!: No! No! Don’t you see?

Why am I even talking to you? I thought you got it!

They’re all in on it! All of them! The BLS. The Chicago Board of Trade. Futures traders. Farmers. Dairy farmers. Especially the dairy farmers! Whole Foods. Costco. Sysco. The SEC. They’re all part of the conspiracy!!

And The Wall Street Journal, too. Doesn’t the article strike you as just a little too tidy? Don’t the pieces all seem to fit together just a little too well?? Doesn’t it all make just too much sense?!?!

VIDEOGRAPHER: For the record, Informant! has exited the room. During his most recent testimony, his helmet became unfastened. It appears he has excused himself to replenish the aluminum foil.

FINANCIALIBRE: Am I hopped up on crazy pills right now?

VIDEOGRAPHER: I don’t think you’re the one who’s riding first class on the crazy train. But if you are on that train, I’m punching my ticket for a seat right next to you. Informant! smells like week-old eggs Benedict, and I don’t want to be anywhere near that action.

FINANCIALIBRE: Good point.

VIDEOGRAPHER: For the record, Informant! has returned to the room. His helmet is tightly secured and very shiny.

FINANCIALIBRE: Why don’t we move on to a different topic. You earlier mentioned that Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke, though both in on this vast conspiracy, are not in charge but are rather “middle managers.” If they’re not in charge, then who is?

INFORMANT!: Just when I think you can’t get any dumber, you ask me something like that. It should be obvious. It’s the Soviets.

FINANCIALIBRE: The Soviets? As in USSR?

INFORMANT!: Um, yeah.

FINANCIALIBRE: The USSR dissolved in 1991. The only thing they seem to have been good at being in charge of was utter economic collapse.

INFORMANT!: Ha! That’s exactly what they want you to believe, you mindless drone! The Soviets won the Cold War by winning the psychic arms race. They exert mind control over the unsuspecting public now.

FINANCIALIBRE: Even if that’s true, I’m not sure I understand the goal. Plus, Russia seems pretty disarrayed still today.

INFORMANT!: They’re playing the long game. They’re patient. It’s all part of Vlad’s plan.

FINANCIALIBRE: Vlad?

INFORMANT!: Vladimir Putin. He’s pretty much the one who runs the world these days. One time I saw him ride a bear. Topless. It was breathtaking.

FINANCIALIBRE: So, if I’m understanding all this correctly, Vladimir Putin is in charge of this whole CPI conspiracy. And pretty much everybody’s in on it. Is that right?

INFORMANT!: Well, pretty much. It’s all part of the military-industrial complex and physics and complicated stuff you wouldn’t understand. But, yeah, pretty much everybody’s in on this. Especially the dairy farmers. They’re very important.

FINANCIALIBRE: And the idea is that, if the few of us who are not in on it were to learn the truth behind the CPI data, we would revolt or otherwise do something unpleasing to Vlad?

INFORMANT!: Yup. You got it.

FINANCIALIBRE: But, if so many people are in on it, and so few people are not, wouldn’t any unwanted uprising be very easy to put down?

INFORMANT!: No. Don’t you see?

That’s the problem with the true state of inflation these days. You think it’s low and that prices are stable. But the fact of the matter is that the true state of inflation is very high. So putting down an uprising of even a few people would be incredibly expensive. And Vlad’s just not very liquid these days. Mind control’s a lot cheaper.

FINANCIALIBRE: I think I get it. One final question. The Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke alligator baby thing; is that true, too?

INFORMANT!: That is absolutely true. I was there. In the delivery room. And I actually took most of those shocking photos.

FINANCIALIBRE: You were there? But that happens in the future, I thought.

INFORMANT!: Time is a flat circle. Have you learned nothing today?

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