Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Soviet Russia, future is always known. Is past that is changing.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Western elites were shocked to see just how moribund the system was.  Only a few years earlier, the CIA had determined that the USSR was the third largest economy in the world. The numbers were cooked, the statistics unreliable.  Sophisticated analysts knew that knowing how the sausage was made was the most important part.

So how is the sausage made here in the good old US of A?

That's an interesting question, and the rabbit hole goes deep indeed.  The indices that track the economy - unemployment rate, CPI inflation index, even the very size of the economy itself - all have been changed over time.  Ever wonder what inflation is, if we tracked it like we did in the Bad Old Days of Jimmy Carter?  Every wonder how Carter's "Misery Index" (inflation plus unemployment) compares to Obama's?

Hard to compare, because the past is always being changed.

Shadow Stats tracks this sort of thing.  I won't spoil your fun by telling you the respective misery indexes*, so head on over.
We forget everything. What we remember is not what actually happened, not history, but merely that hackneyed dotted line they have chosen to drive into our memories by incessant hammering.

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
* OK, I lied.  Carter index = 21%, Obama index = 26%. 


Windy Wilson said...

Yes, but THIS TIME things are getting better, so the Misery Index ought to be only 20% by election day, which ought to be good enough to warrant returning the big government Lexosclerotics to power for 4+more years, because the evil republicans who want to keep the government fingers out of everything so as to control every aspect of your life from Washington DC are just too evil, being not Democrats that we can't permit them to have power to get the government out of the way of the American population who can't do for themselves anyway.

There. Was that sufficiently confused and hysterical to be an accurate representation of the Democrat position?

Goober said...

Windy - you don't actualy believe that the Republicans will do any of that "getting the government out of your way" stuff, do you?

Did they do any of it last time?

I know that I felt a lot more free at the end of Clinton's reign of terror than I did after Bush the second's. It just keeps piling on, no matter who is in charge.

Remember when you could buy a lightbulb? Or a car with a V-8 in it? Or a gallon of gasoline for less than the cost of a meal at your local diner?

TOTWTYTR said...

In "Expanded Universe" Robert Heinlein writes about a trip he and his wife took to Russia in the early 1960s. He and his wife looked at the transportation infrastructure and determined that the population was much, much, less than the official claims.

The Soviets of course hid their real numbers because they showed how weak and corrupt they really were.

There is no reason to doubt that the Obama Administration and their lap dog media are not doing the exact same thing.

Ever notice that one week after the "official" unemployment or inflation numbers are released, revised ones come out? And that the revised ones are almost always worse than the first set?

That gets almost no attention in the real media. In the pre Internet days, they'd have got away with it. No more.