Maybe we aren’t really that connected. Maybe we’re basing our financial decisions on economic data that is wrong. And just because we are all using the same wrong information doesn’t make it right.
As someone who is trying to make sense of it all for Club members, I find myself befuddled — not because the possibilities are so hard to put together, but because the outcomes are all wrong.
On CNBC last week, I knew I was headed down a rabbit hole when I said the consumer price index (CPI), released on Wednesday, radically overstated some of its inputs. (The CPI collects data from retailers and housing units to measure the change in the prices people pay for goods and services, including fuel, utilities and food.)
My co-anchor David Faber was in disbelief and asked how did I know that. I told him it’s because I do better work than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates the index. “Yeah sure,” David said, laughing.
But I meant it. I explained that I check in with more people at stores and ripped off the top ten outlets for apparel. I also amalgamate e-commerce prices and check regularly for sales, even down to the level of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, the budget retailer that I like so much, especially my store in Quakertown, Penn.