Lies, Damn Lies, Fake News, Fake Views and Gold

Excerpt from my latest article on the Sharps Pixley website:

So much of the data we are fed by governments and quasi-governmental outfits like the US Fed are so massaged in favour of trying to maintain a positive sentiment among the great unwashed that they cannot be seen as comparable with supposedly the same stats from the the past.  I am indebted once again to Grant Williams (no relation) who points some of these anomalies out in great detail in his latest Things than make you go hmm… newsletter entitled ‘Fake Views Part II’ bringing the oft-quoted  “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” into mind.  Interestingly the quote is often attributed to Mark Twain but he himself is said to have attributed it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who may have been ahead of his time in forecasting statistical manipulation as political spin!

To illustrate his point Grant draws heavily on data and charts provided by yet another member of the Williams clan, John Williams (again no relation to Grant or myself) who runs the fascinating ShadowStats website which calculates government data the way it used to be calculated before the current era of using statistics as political weaponry.  This has distorted the figures used by US government entities, on which many, or most, of their economic decisions are justified, beyond recognition.  Indeed a significant part of the problem is that those making these decisions no longer question government-provided economic data but automatically assume its accuracy.

Take the cost of living for example.  If one goes by Fed figures CPI is growing at an annual rate of around 1.8-2% – a figure few consumers would recognise as applying to them!  If one calculates the Cost of Living index the way it was calculated back in 1980, inflation is actually rising on that basis at the much more recognisable figure of nearer 9% per annum – see the Shadowstats chart below:

To read the full article click here