Retail sales for January were published by the Government’s Commerce Department today. They show an alleged .2% gain for January over December and a 3.5% gain from January 2015. Nothwithstanding the fact that these numbers are estimates based on highly questionable data samples, these numbers do not include any adjustment for price inflation.
Having said that, it’s impossible to know what’s real and what isn’t with Government economic data reports anymore because everything is based on “random samples” that are “seasonally adjusted” by some mysterious X-13ARIMA-SEATS econometrics program. Having studied econometrics and statistics while in the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, I can say with 100% certainty that econometrics is much more of an “art” than “science.”
For instance, in today’s retail sales report, the Government discloses that the .2% month to month gain in retail sales could actually be anywhere from -.3% to +.7%. The level of “confidence” in this estimated range is 90%. It’s another way of saying that the estimate is useless. Of course, the estimate matched Wall St’s estimate and the stock market jumped up accordingly in knee-jerk HFT-algo driven predictability.
As it turns out, the estimated gain in retail sales reported in January is fully attributable to the seasonal adjustment factors in the X-13ARIMA-SEATS seasonal adjustment statistical meat grinder programmed by Government drones: January Retail Sales: It Was All In The Seasonal Adjustment.
This brings me to the topic of Janet Yellen on the heels of her semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins (the old name for it) testimony to Congress earlier this week. I’m not really sure how or why Janet Yellen was elevated to the Chairmanship of the Fed, but quite frankly she is an utter disgrace to this country.
Unless she really believes the numbers fed to her by her handlers, she should be embarrassed to get in front of the public and state that the economy is in good shape. She looks like a complete idiot to everyone who studies the facts about the economy and about the data used to represent and “estimate” economic activity.
If she truly believes economic reports like the employment numbers, I have to question her level of intelligence. If she knows the economy is tanking but continues to assert that the economy is expanding, I have to question her ethics and morality.
Without a doubt she is not fit to be what is considered the most powerful Central Banker in the world. She hopelessly either stammered through or avoided some questions tossed out at her by Congressmen to which she should have known the answers cold.
Greenspan was “the Maestro,” not because it took ingenuity to flood the system with liquidity with system every time the stock market started to head south but because his of his ingenious ability to spin his words into something that sounded highly intelligent. Bernanke would show visible agitation and his face would flinch when he was given questions for which he was going to answer with a lie.
Janet Yellen, on the other hand, has been put into a seat for which she is pitifully unqualified. Not only does she appear to be incompetent as an economist, but she lacks any ability to think on her feet when confronted with questions beyond the scope of those she’s been programmed to answer since starting her career at the Fed in 1977.
Bernanke in a Dec 2015 “Freakenomics” interview” when asked about his being wrong about housing:
” I was part of the administration and I could not say “head for the hills”.
In which case, he qualifies to be called a liar because many a time, he was asked if he found anything concerning regarding of the health of the economy and he kept asserting that all is well right until the economy went over a cliff. He is not only a liar, he is a thief who robbed savers and old retirees to feed wall street thugs.
a) High bias and high variance = useless statistics.
b) Yellen knows what she’s doing. She sees wage growth in the economic data. Get prepared for the next rate hike in March. S&P down, gold up!
c) I like all of it. 🙂
Janet Yellen is the consummate empty suit. She looks like a
grandma and was placed in the position in order to deflect
any harsh scrutiny . When I see her I always wonder if she brought
cookies. She is a true psych op created to deflect reality.
She brought not only the cookies she baked them herself. 🙂
A noteworthy article. The spin doctors in all their glory.
Dave, you need more ideas for your shorting newsletter? AAPL!
Yes, even Jose Canseco knows gold is going higher.
” I’m not really sure how or why Janet Yellen was elevated to the Chairmanship of the Fed”
Same reason that you see all the female commentators on ESPN talking about professional football, and that Hillary Clinton is considered by some to be qualified to be president.
Dave I really enjoyed your interview with the DOC and Eric Dubin! You wrote:
“I’m not really sure how or why Janet Yellen was elevated to the Chairmanship of the Fed, but quite frankly she is an utter disgrace to this country.”
Janet Yellen is exactly the perfect example of what this country has become. The entire country has become a disgrace when the corrupt people are in charge, making immorality lawful and giving privilege to the lawless ones and calling it their rights. This whole entire world is going the way of hell with America and its puppet leaders, as the captains of the ship.
Everything today needs fixing according to those idiots in charge. How can people who don’t see their own flaws fix anything. I bet many of them cannot even cook a hotdog. Nothing will change until people stop voting into power lunatics and psychopaths. The ones who have a bit of moral will be slaughtered by these incompetents.