A Dose Of Financial Reality....
One of the links in my blogroll is to Barry Ritholtz's "The Big Picture." I highly recommend this website. Barry is a financial professional who has a reputation as a no-BS straight shooter, which is rare on Wall Street these days. He has a good record of calling major market turns, and his writing is accessible to financial pros and novices alike. Here's an excerpt from his latest post about the increasing manipulation of almost every type of important economic data released by the government:
We have been watching, with no small degree of skepticism, a stream of improving Macro-economic data. Color us unconvinced. Many of the key releases have been fraught with misleading headlines obscuring much weaker data beneath, and last month was no different. From Inflation to Federal Deficit to Unemployment Rates to Industrial Output to recent GDP (and its revisions), nearly every data point comes with an asterisk.Read the rest here. Of course, these optimistic data points justify continued interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, as well as provide the Bush administration with a set of favorable talking points on its stewardship of the economy. Judging by how poorly Bush polls on the economy, the public sees things differently. Federal agencies and departments increasingly are "politicizing" data to fit an existing agenda, so getting to the truth is more difficult and important than ever.
When we look back at this period of economic home runs, we will call it the season of steroids. Like Major Leaguers, the Data is on the Juice.