Last week the Labor Department announced that "core" inflation for the month of June rose only 0.2 percent at the wholesale level. I was relieved, having labored under the erroneous impression that prices were rising.
"Core" inflation ignores price increases for food and energy. The government conveniently excludes them because they are volatile and obscure underlying trends.
Including food and energy (the two items that are bankrupting everyone), wholesale inflation for June ran 1.8 percent. This means that inflation for the past 12 months is rising at the fastest rate in 27 years.
I embrace the concept of "core" measurements. I have introduced some, as I explained to my wife.
Judith: How was your golf?
Steve: Great. I broke par.
Judith: That's fantastic. You never came close before.
Steve: My "core" score was two under par.
Judith: What do you mean, "core" score?
Steve: "Core" scoring excludes hooks, slices, yipped puts, and skulled wedges. These volatile strokes obscure the underlying trend of my progress in golf.
Judith: So what was your actual score?
Judith: I heard the market was down again today.
Steve: Not to worry. Our "core" portfolio is holding up well.
Judith: What is our "core" portfolio?
Steve: Money market deposits. Our "core" portfolio excludes stocks and bonds because they are volatile and obscure underlying trends.
Judith: What's happened with our stocks and bonds?
Steve: It doesn't matter because I reduced our "core" spending.
Steve: I decided all my spending is "non-core." So now I can now spend even more since it doesn't count as a core expense.
Judith: With the market tanking, why don't you look for work instead of spending money and playing golf?
Steve: For me, employment is a non-core activity.
Judith: Aren't you going a bit too far with this core nonsense?
Steve: Not at all. Everyone uses it.
Judith: For example?
Steve: When George Bush says his core policies are working, he excludes domestic policy and foreign policy because of their volatility.
Judith: Anybody else?
Steve: The State of Florida. They count only "core" votes.
Judith: I find that hard to believe.
Steve: I have never told a "core" lie.
Judith: When you say never, what do you excluded?
Steve: Statements, assertions, answers, affidavits, reflections, attestations, remarks, allegations, observations, affirmations, utterances, declarations, expressions, depositions, replies, certifications, and wisecracks.