How Inflation Is Measured Is Changing; Will It Let Joe Biden Declare an Economic Miracle and Move On?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

For the last two years, the Biden White House has been hounded by the rapid increase in monetary inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). To be honest, the economic policy of Joe Biden makes Jimmy Carter look like Milton Friedman by comparison.


Now they may have found a strategy to change the narrative: if you can’t change the number, change the way the number is created.

The US inflation numbers for December 2022 are to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on January 12. Going forward, there will be a change to the method used to calculate US CPI. December 2022 CPI data is being calculated as per the existing model.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will change the method of calculation of inflation data from 2023. The release of the January 2023 CPI data, which is slated for Friday, February 10, 2023, will mark the beginning of the switch to yearly weights. With the release of January 2023 in February, the CPI for ‘new vehicles’ will introduce a methodology improvement to the time series filter that estimates the most recent cyclical trend and short-term fluctuations.

The Federal Register notice is here.

I don’t know that the fix is in to help Joe Biden by curing his inflation problem, but there was this interesting statement from Paul Krugman, who is allegedly an economist.


My colleague Bonchie has more on this at Deranged Press Hacks Want You to Know Inflation Is Fine Now.

Read Krugman’s comments carefully, and then this.

In order to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the BLS has planned to update spending weights on an annual basis using information from a single calendar year. This differs from the prior method, which updated weights using two years’ worth of expenditure data every two years. When the US CPI index for January 2023 is calculated using data on consumer spending from 2021, this revision will go into effect.

This New York Times article foreshadows the change by explaining how the CPI changes based on the components, and that is good.

This, it seems to me, bakes in the huge price increases that are Biden’s doing (in December 2021, I could buy eggs at 77 cents per dozen, today, they were nearly $6) and makes them the norm against which future inflation is calculated.


This isn’t the first time the CPI has been recalculated. So there may be nothing nefarious here at all. But this is the Biden White House, and that means nothing stupid or criminal is ever off the table.

We’ll know soon enough. The January CPI, computed using this new methodology, comes out in mid-February. If it is at or near the CPI for January, then maybe there is nothing to see here. My hunch is that February will show a 2-point or so drop in the CPI, and then Biden and his minions will be declaring victory over inflation, and they will receive a lot of help from the mainstream media in doing that.


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