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Unmanipulated US "Misery Index" Hits All Time High

Tyler Durden's picture


While everyone knows that the CPI in the US is manipulated beyond repair (a topic far too broad to be discussed here suffice to say that as disclosed previously true inflation in the US is currently runrating at over 8%), inflation as actually represented by US consumers and reported by Zero Hedge earlier, in the form of the 1 year inflation expectation index of the Conference Board lack of confidence index, is near all time highs. So if one takes this data series and adds to it the narrow unemployment definition (U3) one would get an adjusted Misery Index for US citizens (using inflation expectations instead of manipulated CPI). As the chart below shows, the Misery Index, which is merely inflation plus unemployment, constructed as such, would now be at an all time high. Hardly in keeping with Bernanke's wealth effect prerogative, but surely in line with record food stamp usage reported month after month. That said, the silver lining to that particular mushroom cloud is our confidence that as the bulk of Americans live in record "misery", they will be comforted to know that their 20 shares of NFLX are trading at a four digit EPS multiple. And the other good news is that we have the Brits beat again: whereas the US is at a record, the UK is merely at a 20 year high, proving once again that only the US never does anything half-assed.

h/t John Lohman


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Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:11 | 1114673 camaro68ss
camaro68ss's picture

bullish for the bulls! up up and away. DOW to the moon!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:14 | 1114678 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

So this chart is o.k., but that chart is bogus but this chart is just right ..... Got it. Doomer manipulation ...


Viva gold and silver ..... Long live the doomer's .....

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:16 | 1114688 FOC 1183
FOC 1183's picture

One might call determining which charts are okay vs. those that are bogus...."analysis"

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:39 | 1114767 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

He's allowed his tantrum, he hasn't seen the Dow/S&P/NASDAQ .vs. Gold chart in the last 12 years.   When he finally comes out of the cave into the GOLDEN sunshine, he'll realize how myopic he was

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:31 | 1114938 AndyR
AndyR's picture

Doesn't that require people to think?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:34 | 1114746 bigredmachine
bigredmachine's picture

oxy morons

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 00:27 | 1115880 Burnbright
Burnbright's picture

Spalding it is a basic fact that CPI is manipulated with hedonics. But what ever you want to cherry pick. 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:16 | 1114690 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

No doubt Bernanke's response is to frantically flush anti-depressant pills down his office toilet.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:35 | 1114750 willien1derland
willien1derland's picture

We can only hope that the Bernank gets medication to address his issues as if he had an ounce of conscience left in his wretched body - unfortunately, Washington DC resides in happyland - Washington–Arlington– Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV MSA where unemployment is a balmy 5.7% - so the Misery Index would be far different in that particular location

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:57 | 1114835 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Milton - the avatar:

Frigging hilarious.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 20:38 | 1115123 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Indeed, very funny!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:17 | 1114691 HarryWanqer
HarryWanqer's picture

Who cares?  Those smart enough to buy equities are doing quite well.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:26 | 1114718 Pepe
Pepe's picture

Want to buy mine??

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:35 | 1114752 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Who cares? Really? Are you really such a callous fucking tool?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:47 | 1114797 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

That's WANQER not Wanger.   BTW, what happened to Wanger, haven't seen him post when I'm online.    Did he change personna or something?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:00 | 1114850 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Perhaps Wanger received top billing in a snuff film?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 20:38 | 1115129 James
James's picture


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:07 | 1114869 AR15AU
AR15AU's picture

His boiler room lost their contract with the federal reserve. I hear that now they are cold calling for the Freedom Wand.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:11 | 1114877 Cursive
Cursive's picture

@Sophist Economicus

BTW, what happened to Wanger, haven't seen him post when I'm online.

Prof. K is too depressed to maintain his Second Life.  His state university employer laid him off during the last round of budget cuts and the NSA troll program furloughed him because of ineffectiveness. 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:50 | 1115288 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

I think he became gold 36000 and came out of the closet as a true gold bug

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:52 | 1114814 rockraider3
rockraider3's picture

I bet the 15%+ in unemployed in the US are just giddy over the equities market the past year.  They're just flooding the market with liquidity right now.  I mean, when you're rolling in $400/week in government assistance, you got to put that to work in equities.  Food, clothes, shelter, screw it cause equities are on the rise.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:18 | 1114692 FunkyMonkeyBoy
FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

They're too dumb to realise they are miserable. And if they did realise, they are too dumb and lazy to spend 1 day of their miserable lives researching who is causing their misery (cough, cough FED/Government/Wall St scum filth) and then they'd be too apathetic to do anything about it. You get the 'leaders' you deserve.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:27 | 1114729 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

Actually, I'm as happy as I've been in my entire life, thanks.  And it's interesting you refer to 'they're/they/their'.  Assumes you are not part of the collective...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:26 | 1115227 Holodomor2012
Holodomor2012's picture

Not so much a collective as a tribe.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:18 | 1114696 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

I think I'm past the point of caring. I've hedged for a complete collapse. It's obvious this train wreck is going to happen. We're off the cliff but the ride is smooth because we haven't crashed at the bottom.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:26 | 1114723 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end.

Douglas Adams, NOT, Chumbawumba

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:17 | 1114698 Horatio Beanblower
Horatio Beanblower's picture

The BBC website has been down for the past hour.  The last time the BBC website was offline for so long was 9/11.  Needless to say, the conspiracy theories are starting to fly.


From Twitter...


"Shortly a Trident submarine will surface. Its commander will try to access And then the world will end #BBCBlackout"

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:07 | 1114868 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Gort -- Klaatu barada nikto.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:13 | 1114882 bothsidesnow
bothsidesnow's picture

Anonymous confirm they launched DDOS on the BBC in solidarity with March 26th protesters #bbcblackout.

Now if they could just get Blythe to cover we would all be happy!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:20 | 1114706 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Sad, very sad indeed

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:22 | 1114709 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Unmanipulated misery, bitchez!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:23 | 1114712 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

I never would have predicted that the S & P 500 would be over
1,300 with everything that has happened, especially with no jobs,
McMansion prices still dropping like a stone, and $4.00/gal. gasoline.

But I'm just a small guy, the tape is much smarter than I am, so I'll just follow the tape and the PigMen who are the ones driving stocks up, and they are 1000x richer than I am.

Who am I to question them?

Sheesh, what happens if things actually start to improve?

Dow 18,000?


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:32 | 1114736 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

when every little guy believes he is alone, then he is indeed a little guy.

after can 6 billion little guys ever hope to fight and win against 10,000 big guys?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 22:37 | 1115451 HoofHearted
HoofHearted's picture

Ever see "V for Vendetta"? The good guys will win in the end.

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 03:36 | 1116121 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

I dunno..."1984" seems a little more realistic.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:48 | 1114798 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

Where is the morality in manipulation?


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:50 | 1114810 willien1derland
willien1derland's picture

My sentiments exactly, when you add in the geopolitical events as well as the tragic events in Japan where rebuilding is looking less & less likely - unfortunately the facts appears to be that the only real exports America offer the world is unbridled speculation supported by the God forsaken Federal Reserve (which supports the corrupt central & tbtf banks), which leads us to the second most significant US export of inflation (especially to Emerging Markets), & lastly aggression because we know that all of the evil people in the world live in or around Afghanistan, Iraq & Libya - so long as instabilities exist we can bid up the risk premia & take our profits which are worth less & less with each passing POMO - NOW THAT IS CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN - Sarcasm off -

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:09 | 1114870 JonTurk
JonTurk's picture

so tape was smarter back in 2007 when S&P pushing up 1500??? things were perfect back then and fundamentals were shining, right?

you proved once again that you really dont know anything about how markets work.. you are destined to be just a loser troll..

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:45 | 1115264 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

robo seems to know what time it is...

when the bottom fell in '08 i was a newb reading Denninger.

I had "NO IDEA, NO IDEA"™ that Ben could/would shovel equities upward like that.

If I HAD known....sheeeeit, I'd have dumped my $, ALL OF IT into the market.

Hats off to Robo if he caught it all (especially, if like me, he has kids).

He seems to know it's all farce.

He posts here....

I don't hear him touting "strong fundamentals"...

Let the man show the pretty women....


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:27 | 1114927 Tater Salad
Tater Salad's picture

Ditto that Robo...

With a fed hell bent on getting another 1X turn on GDP, I'd say you'd have to be out of your mind to stand in front of this thing.  They did it in the '60's to get out of debt, problem is this time we have 2X the unemployment and God only knows how much higher U6 is now than it was then.  Say hello to QE20...who ever said this wasn't a secular bull anyway?...



Tue, 03/29/2011 - 20:43 | 1115138 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ RobotTrader,

With all this going on I would never guessed the markets up so much either.

The Pigmen, yeah, that´s got to be it.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:25 | 1114721 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

All Time High = Bullish.

rally on...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:27 | 1114724 Mongo
Mongo's picture

Misery is good. It guarantees demand for food...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:30 | 1114739 AldoHux_IV
AldoHux_IV's picture

Yet no one does anything about removing the cancer that plagues us... truly sad.  Let them eat ipads indeed.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:42 | 1114770 baby_BLYTHE
baby_BLYTHE's picture

It's fun taking turns ripping on chairsatan

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:42 | 1114772 johny2
johny2's picture

I believe the 90% population are not really important for the economy anyway. Who cares if they have food, water or even car. I mean when 50% of income or something close to that figure goes to top 5% what does it matter anyway what happens to other 95%?

They made a bit of a mess with those nasty cds on the subprime mortages, but it has almost been fixed, by devaluing dollar and making present and future population much more indebted. Wall street knows this is not important. What is important is that the Rich have been saved from the near catastrophy and their money collecting machine has been repaired.

The misery index has no meaning at all, as most of the other economic news. 



Tue, 03/29/2011 - 23:31 | 1115659 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

We in the U.S.A. will have a permanent, per-ma-nent underclass which I believe will approach let's say 40% unemployment and stay there.  They will be fed cheese food, provided with subsidized housing, three hots and a cot.  Permanent.  They will have no incentive to work; in fact work will make it more difficult for them.

Those in the middle will serve the wealthy or become rentiers to the poor.

The U.S. will also return to a segregated racial demographic; like a huge open-air prison, race-based associations will form.

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 06:52 | 1116254 johny2
johny2's picture

Today there is whole bunch of jobs which are so unproductive, that you could say that the unemployment is 40% already. 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:45 | 1114789 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

Here is some info on Anonymous' Operation ESR:

Op ESR: The Protest that Wasn't

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:45 | 1114790 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

At least the "Resilient Consumer" can drown his misery by charging it up, paying for their iPads, Chipotle burritos, Priceline travel packages, and Pottery Barn furniture with credit cards.

At least the girls I know say that spending money on credit is a cheap and easy fix for misery...

Any wonder why this stock is skying? 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:47 | 1114793 unclebigs
unclebigs's picture

Meaningless unless you're unemployed and need food.  Even then, government sends you food stamps with Bernanke's freshly printed $.  Chart looks like Excess Bank Reserves because Bernanke is offsetting Misery Index with QE.  QE is like magic.  


Recommendation:  Buy Netflix on margin.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:53 | 1114825 thatthingcanfly
thatthingcanfly's picture

Am I the only one to notice that a seemingly high percentage of all these unemployed welfare recipients are morbidly obese? They must be eating OTC derivatives or something. I hear there are plenty of those to go around... still.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:48 | 1115274 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

yeah I agree.  our fatass welfare recipients have it much better than they deserve, polluting our country with huge numbers of fatherless kids who will just go on welfare/disability themselves as soon as they are old enough to get diagnosed with ADHD.

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 01:23 | 1115987 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

I'll say...and they are pretty mouthy, too.


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 18:55 | 1114831 ss123
ss123's picture

CNBC headlines today: "Consumer Confidence Drops Less Than Expected"

LMAO... good thing it didn't drop as much as expected or that chart would have really shot the moon.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:05 | 1114864 willien1derland
willien1derland's picture

It is unbelievable - because if it fell more it definitely would have been blamed on the weather - which STILL would be a BULLISH sign because of the pent up demand of all those people unable to leave their homes to buy iPads & Taco Bell - The only thing left is for someone to post the latest Bob Pisani blog entry as the OPED lead for all major newspapers then HFT algos would launch the DJIA & Russell2000 to levels whereby they would be confused with the figures racing across the US National Debt Clock - I am feeling rather patriotic at the moment - perhaps Obama will declare war on Micronesia as M appears to be the next letter in the alphabetic strategy initiative from the Joint Chief of Staff -   

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:11 | 1114881 cossack55
cossack55's picture

My own misery index blows this chart to hell every time I tune in CNBS.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:27 | 1114922 Quixote2
Quixote2's picture

For those of us who lived in the 1970's, the misery index peaked at 20.76 in 1980.  The titled all time high at ~15.6% is in error.


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:44 | 1114983 FOC 1183
FOC 1183's picture

Not really - it's based on the conference board's inflation expectations survey (not reported CPI) which doesn't go back that far. It is an all-time high based on the existing history of the survey

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:26 | 1114923 Silverhog
Silverhog's picture

I didn't know prozac had a half life. No wonder everybody is miserable.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:34 | 1114951 monopoly
monopoly's picture

I am staying with the trend but except for miners, and maybe and oil or rare earth from time to time I never hold them overnight. And I do not think I ever bought any of the ones Robot mentioned. Let them go to the moon. I need to sleep at night.

Because when it starts for real, which may be months away, I bet futures overnight will be limit down. I am doing fine with what I got.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:36 | 1114954 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

gloom, despair, and agony on me

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 19:58 | 1115024 unclebigs
unclebigs's picture

All I need is a 6 pack and a new Porn movie and I'm fine.  

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 20:02 | 1115029 ncdirtdigger
ncdirtdigger's picture

How do I invest in the Misery ETF?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 20:26 | 1115098 unclebigs
unclebigs's picture

GLD and SLV.  Dude, haven't you been reading ZH?  All roads lead to Gold and Silver.  Always Buy.  Never Sell.



Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:43 | 1115268 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

the bulk of americans live in "record" misery?  Hahahaha!whohohoho!Whee!  Oh my ribs hurt.   The bulk of Americans have a better quality of life, longer life span, shorter work hours, and better nutrition than most of the word.  We still have a better quality of life than did our great grandparents on average.


The bulk of americans have never had it so good.  This is the greatest living standard for the greatest number of people the world has ever seen.  And it is happening right here in America.

Some third worlders could tell you what real misery is.  But most Americans wouldn't know.  They have never seen it or lived it.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 23:44 | 1115714 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

TCT +1

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 12:37 | 1117505 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Try looking out a couple years into the future when the consequences of all these downard trends come home to roost for real and then tell me why people shouldn't be afraid and miserbale right now.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 23:23 | 1115623 Tail Dogging The Wag
Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

Perhaps it's time to watch the classic Garbo film The Joyless Street.

We can all learn something from this silent film, especially now.

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 03:39 | 1116123 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Well, I've been miserable for quite sometime. 

Oh yeah. That's because I'm a pessimist who's been right the last 5 years.  At least the relations are finally coming around to asking for advice.

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 09:33 | 1116555 gall batter
gall batter's picture

In a class war, Company, Inc. loves misery.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!