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The Magic Of 100%+ "Hedonic" Deflation In One Chart

Tyler Durden's picture


In a NYT article which perhaps was meant to boost poor Americans' spirits that despite their horrible economic plight (because, you see, the past five years of Fed monetary easing - which explicitly allowed US politicians to avoid engaging in much needed and very unpopular fiscal reform - only focused on helping just the wealthiest - sorry very much, better luck next time) things really are quite great because, through the magic of hedonics, most things are really cheaper than ever.

To wit:

Since the 1980s, for instance, the real price of a midrange color television has plummeted about tenfold, and televisions today are crisper, bigger, lighter and often Internet-connected. Similarly, the effective price of clothing, bicycles, small appliances, processed foods — virtually anything produced in a factory — has followed a downward trajectory. The result is that Americans can buy much more stuff at bargain prices.

They can.

The only problem is they don't, because while one can use hedonic adjustments all day long to make it appear that one gets more bang for the buck, one still has to spend several hundred to over a thousand for a simple television set every few years, regardless of whether it is 1080p, 4K, 3D, or any other fleeting fad.

The NYT does touch on this amusing sleight of hand used by economists always and everywhere to make inflation appear tamer than it is:

“If you handpick services and goods where there has been dramatic technological progress, then the fact that poor people can consume these items in 2014 and even rich people couldn’t consume them in 1954 is hardly a meaningful distinction,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “That’s not telling you who is rich and who is poor, not in the way that Adam Smith and most everyone else since him thinks about poverty.”

Indeed - because between soaring food and energy prices, and stagnant or outright declining wages (the average weekly wage this month was $24.31; the average weekly wage last month was... $24.31), and the indigestability of the iPad (a new version of which is offered every 8-12 months with new features, which somehow also makes it hedonically cheaper) America's poor couldn't care less about how "cheap" those things they simply can never afford, allegedly are.

And the other problem, and an indication of just how ridiculous hedonics really is, is shown on the chart below, which is what economists use to "justify" that inflation really is very tame.

The punchline: apparently the "hedonically adjusted" deflation in Television costs over the past ten years is over 100%.

Huh, deflation of more than 100%? How is that possible? Just read the fine print:

Data is collected from retail stores and adjusted by specialists to reflect changes in quantity offered in a product or an increase in quality. Much of the drop in prices for electronics reflects an increase in quality over the past 10 years.

Ah, so the drop in prices in not actually a drop in prices which very well may be rising... but simply "an increase in quality."

By that logic, 99% of Americans are wealthier because the US household net worth chart showing really just the wealth of 1% of Americans (those whose paper wealth is tied to the stock market) moves from lower left to upper right. Courtesy of Mr. Chairmanwoman's money printer. And if not that then, well, there is always the trickle down effect.

Isn't modern "hedonically-adjusted" economics just grand: after all, since the quality of that money in your pocket is so much higher, you are now richer. Just ignore the fact that in proportion to all the outstanding money, what you have in your pocket is now worse than a joke.


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Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:53 | 4721564 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

The bigger the screen, the bigger the illusion.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:54 | 4721568 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Bitcoin.  The hyper-deflator!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:56 | 4721576 svayambhu108
svayambhu108's picture

Biology gets expensive, electronics gets cheap. One is perfected by the system, the other is crippled by te sytem.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:59 | 4721589 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Basically, any production or service that can be outsourced becomes cheaper.  Any production or service that must occur locally - you must educate your children, service your health, fix your car, etc - becomes more expensive.  This is the tipping point.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:01 | 4721596 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

"Huh, deflation of more than 100%?"

Think of it this way:  if you have a new TV made in 2005, you pretty much can't even give it away if you're Best Buy!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:09 | 4721638 maskone909
maskone909's picture

record high beef prices bitches


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Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:15 | 4721658 Gaius Frakkin' ...
Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

New and used cars have almost decreased 20%? Are they fucking joking?!? There has to be a punchline somewhere we're missing.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:19 | 4721672 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Absolutely - that Toyota Camry that cost you 25K in 2000 now runs you 40K.  .8 * 25K = 40K.  Whats the matter, you gonna believe your calculator/spreadsheet?  Fuck man, the Orwellian NWO is going to be hard on you.  Just remember, War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:27 | 4721709 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Can I haz some more of that GM Cobalt quality?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:43 | 4721753 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Last paragraph:

“If you handpick services and goods where there has been dramatic technological progress, then the fact that poor people can consume these items in 2014 and even rich people couldn’t consume them in 1954 is hardly a meaningful distinction,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “That’s not telling you who is rich and who is poor, not in the way that Adam Smith and most everyone else since him thinks about poverty.”

Isn't that the point of the article?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:50 | 4721780 svayambhu108
svayambhu108's picture

The future will be hi on tech, low on life. Buy life, sell tech. :D

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:53 | 4721793 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: Therefore choose life. [Deuteronomy 30:19]

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:03 | 4721808 Gaius Frakkin' ...
Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

If bureaucrats could accurately quantify value, then we would all have Marx and Mao under our beds.

This is like betting on a runner who can't tie his/her own running shoes.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:32 | 4722136 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I've got my money on that South African guy with the metal legs.  No shoes to tie.   His only mistake was not deciding on prosthetic skis and and target shooting.  He would have killed it.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:26 | 4724136 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

bureaucracy controls masses through powers of policy and procedures. He who dictates power (lawyers in the government) is king.


strategy of american economy was to inflate like crazy and hide inflation to citizens by offshoring consumer goods manufacturing which effectively exports inflation to foreign countries so that Chinese factory workers get the blunt of inflation's negative effects.

However, certain unexportable (at least not yet) services like childcare, education (zero sum reputation game), primary housing, government monopolies like military, police, paper pushers, lawyers get inflation adjusted income and relatively get wealthier than the productive class working in productive industries.


some lower end services (non-managerial) are kept in check from inflation by importing labor (illegal aliens, H1B tech workers, construction workers, imported doctors in small towns)


Now, why does US elites have to do all of this to counter inflation??? Because they need to erase bad gambling debts. Wall street is whom they employee to execute this, but in the end wall st. workers are workers in the end. Real elites are well hidden from the public. THEY are the real public enemy. Enough money to live well, but greed turns nation's economy into a ego trip game.

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 11:58 | 4725852 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture


"This is like betting on a runner who can't tie his/her own running shoes."

??? I'll still put my bet on Forrest Gump!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:27 | 4721925 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

Yup:  bread, circuses and Obama phones.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:52 | 4721784 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

The only way that television prices could decline over 100% (which is what the chart shows) would be if people were being PAID to take televisions.

Charts are just a way of presenting lies in an obfuscated way.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:01 | 4721816 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

The only way that television prices could decline over 100% (which is what the chart shows) would be if people were being PAID to take televisions.

They are, if you wanted to get rid of an old (crt) tv in a responsible manner you'd have to pay someone to recycle it - lots of places offer this service.  

Not that that's what the chart was saying. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:31 | 4722487 PT
PT's picture

Okay, let's call their bluff.  If I want a brand new car but built exactly like a '70s car, how much would it cost me today???
If I want a brand new CRT TV right now, built exactly like a '70s TV, what is it going to cost today?
If I want a brand new record player, build exactly to '70s standards and using '70s technology, what is it going to cost today?
Dear Ford, please build me a brand new XB Falcon.  Dear Phillips, please build me a brand new '70s TV and Hi-Fi system.  P.S.  Please build in the same factory and country that you built in in the '70s.

And I still call BS on the "cheaper housing" line on that chart.   Find me a mortgage that costs less than half the minimum wage.  Ha ha ha ha ha ( and not the funny type of hahahaha). 

Time to drag this one back up.  Approx one hour, the first six minutes are boring (skip if you must): 

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 01:19 | 4723060 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

ParkAve said it above:

Basically, any production or service that can be outsourced becomes cheaper.  Any production or service that must occur locally - you must educate your children, service your health, fix your car, etc - becomes more expensive.  

Not sure what you're on about with the 'built exactly like the '70s' points.  

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 04:36 | 4723188 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I get it.  Build me car with an interior like a living room and a trunk the size of Rhode Island, now, in Kalamazoo.  Vinyl does sound better.  There was a time when ALL food was "organic".  Clothe me with the same quality garments as my cohort in 1913.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:31 | 4724146 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

consumer goods are cheaper because they offshore manufacturing. 

cheap consumer goods and fake food keep the masses happy and status quo to perpetuate.

but what allows middle class to challenge the upper class (home ownership, retirement security to allow take more business/career risks, education, healthcare to continue working) increased with inflation to keep them far away from billionares who are now double digit billionares.

Your $500k house might now be worth $1M, but IT IS THE SAME DAMN OLD HOUSE....meanwhile your children won't be able to afford same living standards (as long as you have more than 1 child) AND rich got far more richer than doubling of wealth.

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 12:06 | 4725880 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture

If you factor in the wages of the Chinese slaves building the cheap TV's, is the

hedonistic deflation still accurate? It's definitely less affordable for themcompared to

American factory workers in the 70's.


 Economic analysis should include the sphere of those effected.

In the 70's the chinese weren't even part of this economic calculation.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:18 | 4723237 PT
PT's picture

The '70s point is this:  If modern cars have a paper discount written on their prices due to improvements over the years then give us the option of buying the car without any of those improvements so we can realise the paper gains as real money saved in our pockets.  If we can't realize the gain then the deflation argument is phony.  (Not that we don't already know that.)


Try sitting on the bonnet of a '70s car.  Now try sitting on the bonnet of a new car.



EDIT:  Or, in short:  Let me realize the paper gains in the real world.  If I can't convert the paper gains to real money, then those paper gains don't exist.

Another thought:  Cars are said to be cheaper because of improvements.  Meat is said to be cheaper due to substitution - you stop buying beef and buy cheaper mince.  Don't these two methodologies contradict each other?  Where's the hedonic adjustment for beef devolving to mince?


Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:34 | 4724152 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

substitue metal with plastic and you have cheaper cars.


but the real question is, is your commute to wage slavery plantation any shorter???


key performance metric should not be how comfortable the ride is nor max speed of the vehicle, but how much time and gas a new car will save you. 


Otherwise it is like arguing that a women's luxury hand bag is on sale now .

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 12:09 | 4725898 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture

If you factor in the entire cost of a vehicle as time spent(working or driving)

we get surprisingly close to horse and buggy speeds.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 16:41 | 4724421 neidermeyer
neidermeyer's picture

I can tell you that the turntable that I bought new in the 1980's for under $150 with a decent cartridge sells used on eBay for over $1000 ... but you can buy a Sony DVD player (that will also play your cd's) at WalMart for $19.96



Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:03 | 4723202 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

The chart does not show that TV prices have declined over 100%, hedonically adjusted or otherwise. Nor does it say used car prices have declined 18%.

Tyler and everyone else here seem to have missed a key part of the chart, where it says the percentage point is relative to the 23% overall change in prices over the time period.

So, it's around 110-23=87% decline in prices for TVs, hedonically adjusted, due largely to adjustments for better TV technology. Still very ridiculous. And around a 5% increase in used car prices.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 22:10 | 4722762 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Think of how much cheaper it all would be without currency destruction.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:21 | 4721678 ProtectiveFather
ProtectiveFather's picture

The cars are nominally 150% more expensive, but they're 170% better, hence 20% decrease. Lucky you.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:26 | 4721701 Gaius Frakkin' ...
Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

I feel so much better knowing someone can pull 170% out of their ass to tell me things aren't as bad as they seem.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:49 | 4721779 Wait What
Wait What's picture

"tell me things aren't as bad as they seem"

hasn't that been the whole project since 2009?

forget real growth, forget structural adjustment, just spin everything to look like 'recovery' and 'things are getting better' and you've summed up the objectives of the Central Banks, the Obama/Abe/EU administrations, and all of their superior/subordinate organizations.

the hard part is going to be spinning the collapsing 2014 economy, with all its hedonic, seasonal, and NEW GDP adjustments into anything but the 2nd leg of a depression. as we saw today, baffle 'em with bullshit seems to work just fine.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:35 | 4721957 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

So is it hedonics or ebonics???

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:15 | 4722080 TheSecondLaw
TheSecondLaw's picture

If I have learned one lesson in business, it's this:  Turnover is vanity; profit is an opinion; cash flow is a fact.  Hedonic shmah shmah. The cash at my disposal is decreasing and I'm working just as hard as I was ten years ago.  I don't give a shit what the economists say.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 19:23 | 4722316 Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

I was taking notes and by my count that's 3 things.

Just saying.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:34 | 4722496 PT
PT's picture

Hedonically adjusted, it is one thing!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 22:16 | 4722781 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

When all else fails, destroy the language.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:41 | 4724166 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

don't just destroy the language, celebrate the destruction.

rappers are billionares now. English teachers have welfare.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:04 | 4721830 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

I notice they didn't bother to compare gasoline prices from 1954 to today, or any energy costs at all. And for all those "hedonic" items, they consume lots of power, lots of expensive batteries, etc. But those prices would kind of mess up their graph even further.

Hmm, if they compared my 1990 corolla with a new one, I don't think they've gotten even 20% better. Certainly not on gas mileage. Yup, just checked Toyota's website-- 28/37 mpg-- which is what I'm getting. Maybe there are 20% more useless geegaws inside (will burlwood door inlays *really* improve things?).

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:10 | 4721854 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Oh - I hear that the energy we have today is better too:  120vac and 240vac instead of old-timey 110v and 220v.  The gas now has fancy detergents and ethenol in it unlike the old toxic leaded stuff.  Even our coal power-plants now run on that new "clean" coal instread of the old dirty dusty stuff.    


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 22:24 | 4722806 daveO
daveO's picture

Less is more! The new Obama catch phrase. Just like Carter wearing a sweater and telling everybody to lower their thermostats.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:23 | 4722104 Antarctico
Antarctico's picture

Hmm, if they compared my 1990 corolla with a new one, I don't think they've gotten even 20% better.

To be fair, newer Corollas (the last couple body styles) have made huge gains in safety and crash worthiness. They are structurally better at protecting their occupants, have ABS brakes standard, and come with multiple airbags. This is true of pretty much all modern subcompact cars these days.


...will burlwood door inlays *really* improve things?

Burlwood door inlays totally improve things, especially when they are made of swirly looking molded ABS plastic.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 08:05 | 4723292 new game
new game's picture

just for the record; 2002 corolla was last year they had independent suspension on all 4 wheels! 2003 on, they became fully  americanized with bling and shit that can fail. abs, bags ect, all mandated shit by insurance lobby! noticed rates on car insurance-another scam. fuck all this, just adds cost and weight. american cars are a fucking joke compared to how i would order my car if i could... hold the bags and gizmo's. you cant even buy a 5 speed corolla anymore. fuck toyota, the new gm. honda still has 4 whl independent susp. on the civic. honda, the last surviving quality car left standing...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:06 | 4721836 orez65
orez65's picture

"The cars are nominally 150% more expensive, but they're 170% better, hence 20% decrease. Lucky you."

In 1969 I could buy a brand new Ford Mustang for $3,000.

I just had my Chrysler Jeep REPAIRED (power steering pump, alternator and front end) for $3,200.

"Fiat money" is the root cause of all that ails the US.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:33 | 4722139 Antarctico
Antarctico's picture

I just had my Chrysler Jeep REPAIRED (power steering pump, alternator and front end) for $3,200.

That $95-plus hourly rate will screw you every time. The front end work is probably more than most people can do in their driveway (you need special tools, a floor jack and axle stands, plus you still need a shop to do the alignment), but a power steering pump and alternator is pretty straightforward to do at home -- not hatin', on you, just saying is all. :)

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:43 | 4722515 PT
PT's picture

I don't know about orez65 but it really helps if you can afford a garage and you don't live in an apartment complex with shared parking.  It's nice to think you can leave your tools for a minute and come back and find them still there where you left them.  Just another spanner in the repair yourself / get a mechanic decision-making process.  (Often I'll pay a mechanic on the grounds of "Well, it'll take me ten hours to fix that but the mechanic can do it in one, therefore the mechanic is cheaper".  I'd rather do and learn myself, but space is a big issue for me.)

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 11:40 | 4723604 Edelweiss
Edelweiss's picture

  @orez65, holy shit that's a lot of coin for a little work.  The parts were likely less than $1,000. I've lost touch with how much it costs to have a car worked on.  I became my own mechanic 17yrs ago because I couldn't afford to have the work done.  Now I do it because I can.  If you have some space, the inclination, and a few hundred to spend on tools, do it yourself!  This spring I'm replacing both front wheel hub assemblies, both strut assemblies, upper and lower ball joints, sway bar links, etc. for <$800 in parts.  Invest in your own skill set, and you won't regret it. 

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 06:46 | 4723246 PT
PT's picture

ProtectiveFather: I want to buy one of the cars that are NOT 170% better so I can get it 150% cheaper.  (Yes, yes, it really means 60% cheaper but given the govt's grasp of mathematics, I'm sure my measure will keep things consistent and in the spirit of their stats.)

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:28 | 4721711 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Thanks to cash for clunkers, used car prices went through the roof.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721719 Gaius Frakkin' ...
Gaius Frakkin&#039; Baltar's picture

Thankfully, the Feds mandated an equal amount (in "value") of spy-ware to come standard on all models to offset the Cash for Clunkers debacle.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:36 | 4721740 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

No shit. Cash for clunkers was one big-ass fuck you to poor people. Now they get to ponder how much they're helping the environment as they ride their bicycles past the rich asshole who bought a new Escalade.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:52 | 4721786 seek
seek's picture

Yep, and it killed future stock of low-cost used cars. And killed the replacement parts markets. And thousands of small businesses in the ecosystem (mechanics, people who pull, sell, recondition an resell parts, etc.)

C4C is real-life proof of the broken window fallacy. It completely fucked over a massive segment of society (both consumers and service providers) in a pathetic attempt to support a handful of failing car companies in exchange for some union votes and more cash subsidies to said companies.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 00:18 | 4722997 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Damn shame it is, really. One of the joys of being stateside was walking into one of those "See you car" grounds and pick up a BMW 528e for 800 dollars. 30$ on a tiny leaking fuel tube, ran it for two years till the clutch gave, what a ride it was.

Also, all us stick shift drivers got huge price breaks because everyone wanted automatics.

Those were the days eh? They are already killing the used car (old) market here in India with mandate this and mandate that.


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 22:29 | 4722823 daveO
daveO's picture

The last thing I read said the avg. used car price is over $17,000! I haven't paid that much for the last 5 used cars combined. I bought the first one in '88, the last one in '06, when they were still cheap. I could add in all the parts(including an engine) and still not get there.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 11:59 | 4723650 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

New and used cars have decreased 20% because even though you are probably paying $30k for a car that 10 years ago was $25k, the bean counters are saying that the rear view camera, built in gps, iCrap port, satellite radio, heated seats, temp set controls, etc are worth so much more that by their calculation you are getting a 20% discount.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721730 Bear
Bear's picture

Moar Bucks for Beef


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 22:08 | 4722754 X_mloclaM
X_mloclaM's picture

this cow, and td, pzwning

deflation of more than 100%? How is that possible? Just read the fine print:

Data is collected from retail stores and adjusted by specialists to reflect changes in quantity offered in a product or an increase in quality. Much of the drop in prices for electronics reflects an increase in quality over the past 10 years.

Ah, so the drop in prices in not actually a drop in prices which very well may be rising... but simply "an increase in quality."


Isn't modern "hedonically-adjusted" economics just grand

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 13:24 | 4723954 Remington IV
Remington IV's picture

wow !!!!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:15 | 4721661 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, "deflation" really is a myth.  At least from the standpoint of anything actually required for survival.

Hedge accordingly.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:27 | 4721706 Oquities
Oquities's picture

yes, the lower prices on the deflated items are the result of lost jobs to foreign countries.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:48 | 4722004 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

Basically, most of the junk I can live w/o has gotten cheaper

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:04 | 4721605 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

Bitcoin — the freshmaker?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:06 | 4721611 HungryPorkChop
HungryPorkChop's picture

@fonestar : That's how they keep the inflation numbers low.  Every week you consume 1 oz of Silver, 1 collapsed helping of Bitcoin then buy 2 LCD TV's.  Presto, inflation is only 2%.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:07 | 4721623 fonestar
fonestar's picture

fonestar is having virtual guests over.  Do you mind if he steals your recipe?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:10 | 4721644 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Bitcoin.  Down 15% in the last week!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721733 angel_of_joy
angel_of_joy's picture

Deflation ?

/s off

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:44 | 4721765 fonestar
fonestar's picture

That's a chance to buy 15% moar Bitcoin with your "dollars"!!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:12 | 4721862 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

With the side benefit that you can then lose even more as the slide continues.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:15 | 4721873 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Who cares if the slide continues?  Just shut up and:


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:25 | 4721918 Soul Glow
Soul Glow's picture

You are going to be broke soon.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:33 | 4721947 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Yes - I would not be surprised if the Bitcoin market can stay rational longer than Fonestar can stay solvent. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 19:04 | 4722234 heavy.metal
heavy.metal's picture

So... after I spend all my money buying electronic representations of numbers with no intrinsic value, what am I supposed to do with them?

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 05:45 | 4723213 shouldvekilledthem
shouldvekilledthem's picture

Remember the word "intrinsic" when the illusion you so strongly believe in turns to shit. ;)

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:58 | 4721586 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

...adjusted by specialists...

Yes, these "specialists" are known to most people as "bullshit artists," and they hold advanced degrees in the Bullshit Arts.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:38 | 4721967 machineh
machineh's picture

PhD that is ... Piled Higher and Deeper.

Plus a free Nobel Prize with an order of shrimp tacos ...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:52 | 4721788 midtowng
midtowng's picture

I would love deflaiton of more than 100%. That way they would be paying me to take stuff off their hands

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 23:56 | 4722967 EscapingProgress
EscapingProgress's picture

I don't own a television, but I regularly buy food and beverages. What does my inflation profile look like?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:54 | 4721569 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Free shit? Sweet!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:00 | 4721591 exi1ed0ne
exi1ed0ne's picture

100% Deflation is 0.  Does this mean that they will pay me to take a new TV?  Because they'd have to - fuck TV.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:39 | 4721748 Imminent Collapse
Imminent Collapse's picture

Blow up your TV - John Prine

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:54 | 4721798 Matt
Matt's picture

You could probably get people to pay you to remove their tube TVs.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:53 | 4722545 PT
PT's picture

Excellent point exi1ed0ne.  The quality of TVs may have gone up but the "quality" of TV shows has absolutely plummeted!

I call 1 000 000 000% inflation in the price of TVs, due to the total destruction of quality in the TV show.  In fact, I call well over infinity percent inflation because you would have to pay me an absolute ton of money to get me to watch some of those shows.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:55 | 4721573 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:55 | 4721575 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

Liars Inc.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:04 | 4721610 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

i wonder if there is any mention of cell phones being "new" about 10 years ago and the fact you "need" to buy a new $600 phone every 18-24 months since they are designed to fail in that time frame????????????

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:10 | 4721630 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

The whole matrix of replacement costs is awry in their hedonics.  That's the core of their deceit.  You need to draw the comparison not against product for product, but use for use over the life of the currency.  Very few services or usages have analogues that trace back from TODAY to the invention of the USD aka FRN.  So the comparison is naturally, and quite largely, subjective.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:56 | 4721579 actionjacksonbrownie
actionjacksonbrownie's picture


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:57 | 4721582 ugmug
ugmug's picture

So as the cost of living on a couch goes down a job is only needed to steal credit card info in order to buy items not included in Obama's stash.


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:00 | 4721590 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Yup, that's right, the government claims cellphone service has actually gotten cheaper in the past 9 years.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:02 | 4721600 Duc888
Duc888's picture



Epic fail on the food.  Much higher that that chart depicts.


I can still get my knob polished by a toothless crack ho with the slims for a fiver though...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:06 | 4721615 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Hedonics in play there too - can't by steak anymore at $8/lb?  Well, you can buy hamburger for $7/lb - deflation?

Can't buy hamburger at $4/lb anymore?  Cat food can be had for $3/lb.  Enjoy!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:41 | 4721747 Gaius Frakkin' ...
Gaius Frakkin&#039; Baltar's picture

Are they counting the added value of free growth hormones in all meat?

I'm sure genetically engineered beef will taste better and that will add enough value to offset skyrocketing prices and then some.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:08 | 4721843 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Wait til they get down to textured vegetable protein, then bugs, then treebark. Go long treebark!!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:14 | 4721869 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Don't forget the Soylent Green.  

Mmmm. . . . 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:21 | 4721680 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Do you know if that's included in the government CPI calcs?  If not, maybe they should look at including it.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:03 | 4721601 maskone909
maskone909's picture

tv's ect. are cheaper because they are made overseas.  the problem is that manufacturing is overseas too.  now, it doesnt really matter how cheap that TV is when there are no jobs left to earn money to buy one. 

we have made it impossible to comply with regulations for small business.  why do we import all of this shit?  fuck the world economy.  any ivey league economist peice of shit will try and tell you how stupid you are because you do not acknowledge the benefit of international trade.  all propaganda.  especially that bill maher fuckface.  that guy tells his audience with a straight face how good socialism is. lmfao.  watch him get pwned here by this anti zionist dude!



Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:32 | 4721727 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

The TV is cheaper but the cable bill is through the roof.

The car is cheaper (?) but you can't afford to fuel it.

Everything manufactured gets cheaper but the quality has gone to shit so you have to replace it often.

And finally, the tipping fees at the local landfill where you dump the crap have skyrocketed.


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:22 | 4722625 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Get rid of cable. Its the patriotic thing to do. 

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 00:17 | 4722996 Curiously_Crazy
Curiously_Crazy's picture

"but the quality has gone to shit"


Not disagreeing with you, but my grandfather was saying in the 70's how "these new cars are nothing compared to those built in the 50's and 60". Then in the 80's/90's we hear "These new cars are nothing compared to the solid 70's cars". Now in the 2000's it's still the same "x is nothing compared to how it used to be x years ago"

I look at it like music. Each generation tends to hold a certain part of their life dear to them and that's the era of 'things' that they cling to and hold dear.


Sat, 05/03/2014 - 12:19 | 4723715 PT
PT's picture

Correct, but your grandfather is also correct.  Get a modern car.  Try sitting on the bonnet.  Try sitting on the roof.  Now try the same thing with a '70s car.  Now try the same thing with a '40s car.  Modern cars have their nice side.  But so do older cars.  I used to stand on my car while in the process of washing it - so I could reach the middle of the roof.  Try doing that on any car built in the last 20 years.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:04 | 4721607 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Funny, despite enormous deflation, many tech companies (the ones who actually make things like hardware and software, not social media companies) still seem to make money.  If a little deflation is bad, according to the Fed, a lot of deflation must be terrible.  But yet these companies still make money.  Apple, Microsoft, and Intel all seem to be doing fine.

Maybe deflation is only bad for one segment of the economy - the banks.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:16 | 4721663 maskone909
maskone909's picture

they are making money because they are not tech companies.  they are highly subsidized defense contractors.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:20 | 4721677 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Indeed, specifically, the banks care about preventing any reduction in the total quantity of debt (public + private).  This is the deflation they give a shit about.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:04 | 4721608 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

Cell Phones are dropping.  You used to have to pay for them - now that you are unemployed you can get a free ObamaPhone!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:10 | 4721643 what's that smell
what&#039;s that smell's picture

why do you hate telecommunications so much?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:05 | 4721613 in-Credible Banker
in-Credible Banker's picture

New and used vehicles -20%???  Now THAT is some funny shit!    

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:23 | 4721690 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Undoubtedly, adjusted the same way as TV's, due to addition of airbags, electric door locks, tire pressure sensors, nav screens etc.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:06 | 4721618 franciscopendergrass
franciscopendergrass's picture

Wow, it is amazing that the things in green have so many government regulations and subsidies and the things in red are less regulated, less subsidized, and afforded (pun intended) the deflationary effects of competition.

 . . . the problem is GOVERNMENT.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:07 | 4721624 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

Always amazing that the prices of things like TVs and cars, that you only need to buy every 5 or so years keeps dropping -- while everything you need for daily living, like food, gasoline, health care, etc keeps going UP (or is omitted from the statistics)

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:08 | 4721627 Duc888
Duc888's picture



"New and used vehicles -20%???  Now THAT is some funny shit!  "


Yea, in the wrong direction.


1999 Dodge 2500 4x4 with a Cummins (stripper work truck, cruise, tilt and air) $27,000


Same truck now $39,000

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:09 | 4721629 NotAMathWhiz
NotAMathWhiz's picture

This hamburger tastes like steak!  Mmmmm....

Sheeple are idiots.  Abandon all hope...

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:10 | 4721645 franciscopendergrass
franciscopendergrass's picture

pretty soon.  cardboard and grass will substitute the price of steak.  that will be the only things can eat without the FED adjusting its inflation numbers. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:20 | 4721674 ackerrj
ackerrj's picture

Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?

[Takes a bite of steak]

Cypher: Ignorance is bliss.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:24 | 4721691 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

At least he had a good virtual steak - one that actually seemed like real steak.  What do we have?  "Enjoy your pink slime, pretend its hamburger, for the purposes of inflation calculations we're going to assume that it's steak.  Oh look, steak is cheaper now than it was 10 years ago!"

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:20 | 4721671 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Next time you go to the auto dealer ask to buy the new Toyota Camry at its hedonically adjusted price of $6000.

Good luck!

Problem is if you need a new car you gotta pay $25000, not $6000 because you can't buy a new 1993 Toyota.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:21 | 4721681 ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

And the hedonic for a doctor is?

And while you are at it...

Teacher and child care worker?

Oh, I see, there isn't any...fancy that.

Now, that's about cost.  As far as the income for the doctor, teacher, child care worker...while I am unsure about doctors (I do know a few GPs who certainly are getting the opposite of better off), and I think child care worker riches are a no brianer. I can say for sure that a good ole elementary scholl teacher has not faired all that well (unsure about tenured college profs).



Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:24 | 4721692 Bear
Bear's picture

How sad, a whole generation buying into the myth of a college degree in Political 'Science', Anthropology, Sociology, Woman Studies, Ethnic Studies, Environmental 'Science', and a whole universe of education that could just as well be gained over the internet for ZERO dollars.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:26 | 4721704 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

One Million Children Labor in Africa’s Goldmines

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:46 | 4721769 Bear
Bear's picture

US is spending five million to reduce child labor:

The problem is the more we spend on 'fighting' child labor the more it expands. Whenever someone throws money at a problem the 'problem' gobbles the money up in administration and bureaucracy and asks for more to solve the problem for which the money originally arrives. The evils of child exploitation will never be solved as as the global economy is overseen by the elite central planners of Western developed nations. The same thing happens in southeast Asia and the sex trafficking business ... the more money flows in to coffers of the 'problem solvers' the more the problem grows.

Starve the beast.

Read 'White Man's Burden' by William Easterly

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:30 | 4722642 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Child labor was only outlawed in the US during the depression because child employees could be had cheaper then men and the government wanted industry to hire the adult male demographic the better to keep them occupied and not reading Marx. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:29 | 4721713 Bear
Bear's picture

I tried eating my TV after reading this post ... broke a tooth and that's going to cost $2000 to fix ... so much for Hedonic

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:35 | 4723281 PT
PT's picture

Couldn't eat the telly?  You do it like this:


The Young Ones.  4th Episode = "Bomb".  Well worth watching. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:29 | 4721714 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture


When steak gets too expensive you switch to hamburger,

When hamburger gets too expensive you switch to chicken,

When chicken gets too expensive you switch to potatoes,

When potatoes get too expensive you switch to turnips,

When turnips get too expensive you switch to grass,

When grass gets too expensive you eat dirt.

All at zero inflation!


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:48 | 4721777 flacorps
flacorps's picture

I believe tree bark appears somewhere on the list. At least according to western propaganda regarding North Korean famines.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:31 | 4721720 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

so basically all the shit that the collectivists control (college, health care, child care, etc.) have skyrocketed.  And the shit the free market contols, for the most part, has gone down in price?

Die you collectvist scum!


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721722 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

Once more, just no credibility bullsh*t from our (non) friends at Maybe the reason that education has inflated in cost is because the quality is so much lower after hedonic adjustments ... after all if a college education cannot get you a job the quality sucks.

IMO, the specialists should be flogged with wet daycare diapers and then locked away in "goal-seek" prison until they regain some sense of morals and ethics.

I bet they do not even touch on the subjects of actual net costs, which include things such as taxes, insurance and energy costs associated with procurement and use. Does the cost of housing include the cost of property taxes, insurance and utilities that have quadupled in two decades. One can buy the house but to use it and stay in it one has to pay the government's overhead enforced at the point of a gun.

To actually use a car one must pay the taxes, licenses, energy costs etc. that most likely have gone up in price much more than the vehicle itself... especially after bs hedonic adjustments.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721723 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Speaking of televisions - the numbers aren't far off. Nowdays people pay money to get rid of their old CRT's. So, if not too picky, people could be paying you to take their television.

I recall having no computer of any kind 15 years ago and beeing too poor to afford one. I had to dumpster dive for months to be able to put together something with processing power slightly exceeding a mechanical typewriter. Nowdays the streets are littered with complete PC's as people are starting to ditch them all together. In a week one could gather enough free gear to set up a government office.

The cost of electronics is becoming nearly negligible and all costs are shifting to services.

If the internet was on the same chart, due to increases in speed its deflation rating per byte delivered would be in negative 1000's. Meanwhile the service ain't getting any cheaper. I'm on the cheapest broadband contract available and it costs $20 more than a standard 56kbps dialup service back in the day when they were common.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:43 | 4721756 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

The price of low cost electronics is building up the Chinese economy at the expense of the US economy. Now China's economy is larger than the US, especially if you consider cost of living and not just currency exchange.

As far as hedonic adjustments ... I would like people to try to be able to use even the minimal functionality of electronics today using old equipment. Run windows 7 or 8 on a year 2000 computer? Not! That analog TV is no longer useful without a converter. The modem is too slow to surf the internet.

Is my phone really free or is the cost buried in that hugely expensive mobile service contract (that was much less expensive back in the day with a wired line).

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:02 | 4723258 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Don't forget that broadband cable speed was made for their benifit in tracking your activities, not so much for your benifit, although they do a good job convincing the consumer of just the opposite.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:32 | 4721725 flacorps
flacorps's picture

What's the hedonic value of beating an economist into an unrecognizable carcass with a Lousiville Slugger?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:42 | 4721979 machineh
machineh's picture

Garden-variety economist: $750,000


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:33 | 4721728 falak pema
falak pema's picture

And this from Jamie Dimon on JPM's future market activities :

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:35 | 4721736 Hannibal
Hannibal's picture

So much sadness and suffering because of "money".

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:35 | 4721737 Relentless101
Relentless101's picture

Stupid shit like this poisons the economic watering hole. Just like GAAP accounting, 2 + 2 can equal 4 or 5 or whatever you want it to be.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:37 | 4721745 unicorn
unicorn's picture

planned obsolescence:

(and many more...)



Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:39 | 4721751 Wait What
Wait What's picture

they day this analysis gets a feature story on the nightly news, the daily show, or some late night talk show is the day this whole charade comes crashing to an end. there are still some ppl out there who think those 2% yearly raises they occasionally get are 'merit' raises, not COLA. all i can think to do is slap my forehead, sigh, and walk away. we really, really have too many ignorant ppl in america.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:37 | 4722666 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

That's why I always had a job offer in my pocket when I negotiated my raise. Otherwise, your pay raise didn't even keep up with inflation. 

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:43 | 4721760 blindman
blindman's picture

people thinking they can destroy a planet are
just funny, part of some psychological god complex,
freudian public sex act delusion. the shit that makes
hollywood rich, the stupidity of the mass ass, dropping
coin on bullshit.
George Carlin on The Environment
anyway …
Bob Dylan – Ballad Of A Thin Man (Vinyl rip)
best to you.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:45 | 4721766 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Where is the Friday humor?



Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:19 | 4721885 besnook
besnook's picture

silver says there is no more sterling. there is no sterling, silver says. it is all on silver's plate.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:18 | 4722086 Crawdaddy
Crawdaddy's picture

Careful or you could be entering the danger zone.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:01 | 4721796 besnook
besnook's picture

so what about negative hedonics? i bought a lawn tractor built in 2003 that is a well engineered and built machine. the price was only a coupla hundred dollars more than a tractor i bought in 1992 that was built with the same level of quality, so the 2003 model had a possibly deflationary price. i bought a comparable lawn tractor in 2011 for only a coupla hundred dollars more than the 2003 mower. quick math says, adjusted for inflation, i paid about the same price for both machines. the difference is in the engineering and the quality of materials. the new machine is a total piece of crap and, according to the repairman, i did not get a lemon. he and i are practically buddies now for all the time we have spent with each other. looking around the market it looks like i will have to pay double what i paid in 2003 for a "real" comparable machine. i see the same problem with almost everything mechanical and anything else that has extruded plastic or stamped metal components(in some cases plastic has replaced key metal parts reducing the planned obsolescence life of the product. isn't that a higher cost, thus inflation?).

what i don't get is there has to be a secret book of the real numbers or the fed is basing all its actions on bogus numbers which result in a bogus result, garbage in, garbage out. if there is no book of real numbers then the entire monetary system is bogus by design, by intent.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:15 | 4722081 Crawdaddy
Crawdaddy's picture

Hand tools are turning to crap too, even simple things like hammers are crummy compared to what you can pick up at a flea market or a old timer's yard sale. But our amigos in .guv say life is good, the iPads are kickin and the BLM can kill your invader cows cheaper today than they could yesterday.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:40 | 4723283 PT
PT's picture

Someone was paid to something - anything - as long as they kept a straight face.  They said it.  They kept a straight face.  No-one laughed.  No-one argued.  No-one got the sack.  No-one was shot.  No-one was hung.  The farce will go on.

Those behind the scenes wonder why they even have to bother.


Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:00 | 4721817 bobert727
bobert727's picture

The electronics part is really troubling.

Say I bought an Ipad for $499 a year ago.  I accidently destroy it and need another.  So I go to the store and there is the new version, somewhat faster, with a few additional bells and whistles, for the same price of $499.

But the government would say the price actually fell because for the same price I got a better/faster product. Really? I'm still out $499.  Candy Crush plays the same.  Angry Birds still get angry.

If I'm out the money....I'm out the money. 

But if you want to distort the true inflation rate.....there you have it.





Sat, 05/03/2014 - 07:44 | 4723285 PT
PT's picture

The computer used to turn on instantly.  I had to wait for the monitor to warm up.

Now I have to wait a lot longer for the computer to turn on.  I have to wait for the computer to download "updates".  Can I say the price of computers is going UP?

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:01 | 4721822 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Up my FAFSA Yellen mothafuckka.

And yes you can buy more Maxcoin today than a couple of months ago.

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:03 | 4721825 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Winston Smith lives!

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:19 | 4721892 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

AND Arthur Anderson is his accounting firm. Doubleplus good. 

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