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Posted: 1/5/2012 12:38:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 12:38:41 PM EST by NorCal_LEO]
Hi Guys...

There is another inflation thread going on. I very nearly replied to it, then thought better of it. I guess I did not want to side track the OP's thread. I know how to write and spell. I cannot type for crap. Spelling nazis take a hike......



Inflation as the government reports it is currently WAY under-reported. You do not need to be an economist or rocket scientist to know this is true. While the government reports inflation is low, and the Federal Reserve continues to print money because its worried about deflation, you and I are seeing significant double digit inflation. Why the disparity?

The short answer is this: The government has manipulated the numbers so damned much that the consumer price index no longer accurately tracks inflation. Its a bullshit number. The CPI is supposed to track inflation. Ideally, a 'basket' of goods and services are priced on a regular basis. This basket includes everything from the cost of a hotel room, to a pound of butter, and a white men's dress shirt in a specific size and material to the cost of a movie ticket. Overall the basket of goods is supposed to collect prices on a wide variety of goods and services so that the Bureau of Labor Statistics can obtain an accurate picture of prices.

Problem 1: conflict of interest. The government has problems. These are all self inflicted off course, but financial problems are currenly huge. If Inflation is pegged at 10, 11, 12% then t government needs to pony up an increase payments to welfare bums, people on Social Security, and gvernment employees. This makes a very very badproblem even worse. In addition, it would be realllly hard to sell Treasury Bills and notes paying 3 and4% wh official inflaton is 10+%. Therefore,its much 'easier' for our government - our bureacrats and politicians - to keep the house of cards upright for a few more weeks if the official "inflaton number is low.....

Problem 2: Confidence. The federal reserve is using quantitative easing. Its big words and bullshit that means "printing money by the metric ton". Actually, printing it using paper and ink is too oldschool, and takes to long. What the Fed is doing is even faster, and far less tangible than paper money. It is simply adding zeros to big bank electronic deposits, (thats the really condensed version!). Of course American consumers and worldwide creditors are starting to wonder "WTF?! How long can Obama and this clown Bernanke print money before the USA looks like Zimbabwe?". If the government released an inflation number that was double digits, then the shock to our dollar (when the world dumped it posthaste) would effectively cause an immediate collapse in this economic house of cards. However, if the inflation number is a nice low figure then the Fed can say "Hey, inflation is only 2%. We are worried about deflation. We should, we can and we will print more money! Here comes quantitative easing III , IV and V"...

Problem 3: The CPI, as frequently reported, goes something like this: The number reported as the CPI is usually "X% excepting food and energy prices". Think about that. Food and energy has recently been our most violatile, most rapidly rising prices. Food and energy prices are rising hard and fast, and the CPI looks lower than reality simply because BLS chooses to ignore food and energy. Who really needs food and energy anyways! This is sort of like being asked if your family budget is balanced. You could reply: 'Except for a $3000 a month mortgage payment and $1500 a month in health insurance we're doing great!". Its a nice answer, and its potentially true but it's a nice little slight of hand parlor trick that masks reality... I suppose it - a CPI that excludes food and energy - might somehow be realistic is we could somehow stop eating and stop using energy. However, I cannot figure out how to do that.

Problem 4: Hedonics. Hedonics are a statistical process that trys to measure consumers' "benefit" from a product. Perhaps you paid $50 a month for cellphone in 2010. In 2011 the actual cash price of your plan coverage rose to $75 a month. However, during that time period your phone plan coverage increased so you could call from more geographic areas, and the phone company added several new features to your plan. The government says "whoa. this 2011 plan isn't identical to the 2010 plan. Its new and improved. While the price actually jumped by 50% ($50 to $75) this looks like the new and improved features increased the benefits to the consumer by 50%. The BLS then claims that there was zero net price increase in cell phone plans for the period 2010 to 2011.. Kinda slick isn't it? You get gangraped to the tune of 50% price increase but the BS claims that improvements offset prices so there is no inflation. How About a different example? Your 2010 model car ws $30,000. THe 2011 model had a price that was 10% higher but because the car was impoved by 9% (better mileage, sligtly increased crash protection) the net price increase after hedonic regression is only 1%.

Problem 5: Substitutions. Lets just say that your basket of goods and services included centercut pork chops or sirloin steak at $5.00 a lb. In 2011 the price spiked to $8,00 so you stopped buying it. Because prices were so high you started buying hotdogs instead. (these used to be $3.00 a package, but they now cost $5.00). BLS figures there is no real price increase here. You used to buy a product (steak) at $5.00. You now buy a substitute product (hot dogs) that also costs $5.00. Five bucks is five bucks so there is zero inflation here. I dunno about you but bologna and franks ain't steak. We keep reducing our standard of living, making do with inferior products of lower quality because prices are too high, and the BLS sees that substitution as 'proof' there is low inflation..

I don't have any hard numbers. I do not track imaginary baskets of goods. But I do know this. Inflation is running a solid double digits. A can of Pringles jumped from $.99 to $1.49, thats a 50% price increase, and no, I didn't get 50% more enjoyment out of them,. When a half gallon of ice cream that was $4.00 is now priced at $4.40 for a 1.5 quart container, that isn't a 10% increase. Its far more than that accounting for the quantity change. My taxes are up 10, 15% on property, the cost of everything from my prescription co-pays (was $7, now $30), to gas (pushing $4), and everything else has jumped by 20, 30 percent or more over the past couple years. And my income has gone up 2%, and investments are making virtually nothing.

Is hyper inflation here? i dunno. I guess that depends on your definition of Hyper inflation. Its damned high, far higher (as in 3 or 4 times more) than the gubbermint (freaking idiots) claims it is. And everything Washington is doing right now is sending a clear signal: We are going to continue to under report inflation and then print money like its going out of style.

I dunno about you guys, but stockpiling physical goods makes sense. Its hard to stockpile sirloin and ice cream. But you might wanna buy bullets, beans and bandaids cheap and stock em deep. And if you are sitting on a fair pile of cash,it might be better spent on physical assets. You are losing ground every day.

fro
Link Posted: 1/4/2012 5:48:04 PM EST
Basically I think you're right.

However at the end of the day as long as the .gov doesn't go completely down a socialist path, or completely wreck the ecomony, this is also an argument for investing in businesses with the means to produce goods which will be in demand.
Link Posted: 1/4/2012 6:21:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/4/2012 6:29:28 PM EST by juslearnin]
This is the same road the Europeans have taken, they are just a few years further down the line.

The politicians promise things they can't pay for, and then get elected and pay back their special interests that helped them get elected with our tax money.

We the electorate won't vote for anyone who tells the truth, and the more people who you have benefiting from the governments largess (government unions, private unions, welfare, social security, Medicaid, Medicare,subsidy recipients, etc), the more they will vote for politicians who promise to keep the ponzi scheme running.

Inflation is just another way to dig the hole deeper before it collapses. Hiding the true inflation numbers allows things to continue a little longer, until eventually you end up like Greece- a society who is dependent on a government who can no longer borrow or print enough money to keep them fat dumb and happy.

Lets say you owe a trillion dollars as a government, but you have massive inflation. Eventually that trillion dollars is nothing, because your currency is worth less (worthless). You don't default, you inflate your way out. Greece can't do this because they are part of the Euro, and the rest of Europe is not ready to sacrifice their economies to save the most financially irresponsible.

The questions is, will we learn from Greece's lesson as they self destruct, or will we blithely follow them down the path.

I think it is going to get pretty ugly in Europe in the next few years. Hopefully it will get ugly enough that our media will connect the dots and try to enlighten the American public as to where we are headed.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 4:02:04 AM EST
making it simple, we're hosed...



there is no amount of political posturing that is going to save us from circling the bowl...short of true revolution or total collapse and a "RESET"

America the Free is no longer...we need to get involved locally, our county commissioner courts, our Sheriffs. our Mayors and city council follks, up to our Govorner and Atty General.
only the States can save the country at this point..the States must turn the tide...one by one..

CHEF
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 6:47:08 AM EST
Originally Posted By makintrax73:
Basically I think you're right.

However at the end of the day as long as the .gov doesn't go completely down a socialist path, or completely wreck the ecomony, this is also an argument for investing in businesses with the means to produce goods which will be in demand.


There may be demand, but at what price? $150 inflated dollars for a loaf of bread?

Link Posted: 1/5/2012 9:40:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 9:49:02 AM EST by AllserviceBilliards]
Originally Posted By frozenny:
Hi Guys...

There is another inflation thread going on. I very nearly replied to it, then thought better of it. I guess I did not want to side track the OP's thread. I know how to write and spell. I cannot type for crap. Spelling nazis take a hike......



Inflation as the government reports it is currently WAY under-reported. You do not need to be an economist or rocket scientist to know this is true. While the government reports inflation is low, and the Federal Reserve continues to print money because its worried about deflation, you and I are seeing significant double digit inflation. Why the disparity?

The short answer is this: The government has manipulated the numbers so damned much that the consumer price index no longer accurately tracks inflation. Its a bullshit number. The CPI is supposed to track inflation. Ideally, a 'basket' of goods and services are priced on a regular basis. This basket includes everything from the cost of a hotel room, to a pound of butter, and a white men's dress shirt in a specific size and material to the cost of a movie ticket. Overall the basket of goods is supposed to collect prices on a wide variety of goods and services so that the Bureau of Labor Statistics can obtain an accurate picture of prices.

Problem 1: conflict of interest. The government has problems. These are all self inflicted off course, but financial problems are currenly huge. If Inflation is pegged at 10, 11, 12% then t government needs to pony up an increase payments to welfare bums, people on Social Security, and gvernment employees. This makes a very very badproblem even worse. In addition, it would be realllly hard to sell Treasury Bills and notes paying 3 and4% wh official inflaton is 10+%. Therefore,its much 'easier' for our government - our bureacrats and politicians - to keep the house of cards upright for a few more weeks if the official "inflaton number is low.....

Problem 2: Confidence. The federal reserve is using quantitative easing. Its big words and bullshit that means "printing money by the metric ton". Actually, printing it using paper and ink is too oldschool, and takes to long. What the Fed is doing is even faster, and far less tangible than paper money. It is simply adding zeros to big bank electronic deposits, (thats the really condensed version!). Of course American consumers and worldwide creditors are starting to wonder "WTF?! How long can Obama and this clown Bernanke print money before the USA looks like Zimbabwe?". If the government released an inflation number that was double digits, then the shock to our dollar (when the world dumped it posthaste) would effectively cause an immediate collapse in this economic house of cards. However, if the inflation number is a nice low figure then the Fed can say "Hey, inflation is only 2%. We are worried about deflation. We should, we can and we will print more money! Here comes quantitative easing III , IV and V"...

Problem 3: The CPI, as frequently reported, goes something like this: The number reported as the CPI is usually "X% excepting food and energy prices". Think about that. Food and energy has recently been our most violatile, most rapidly rising prices. Food and energy prices are rising hard and fast, and the CPI looks lower than reality simply because BLS chooses to ignore food and energy. Who really needs food and energy anyways! This is sort of like being asked if your family budget is balanced. You could reply: 'Except for a $3000 a month mortgage payment and $1500 a month in health insurance we're doing great!". Its a nice answer, and its potentially true but it's a nice little slight of hand parlor trick that masks reality... I suppose it - a CPI that excludes food and energy - might somehow be realistic is we could somehow stop eating and stop using energy. However, I cannot figure out how to do that.

Problem 4: Hedonics. Hedonics are a statistical process that trys to measure consumers' "benefit" from a product. Perhaps you paid $50 a month for cellphone in 2010. In 2011 the actual cash price of your plan coverage rose to $75 a month. However, during that time period your phone plan coverage increased so you could call from more geographic areas, and the phone company added several new features to your plan. The government says "whoa. this 2011 plan isn't identical to the 2010 plan. Its new and improved. While the price actually jumped by 50% ($50 to $75) this looks like the new and improved features increased the benefits to the consumer by 50%. The BLS then claims that there was zero net price increase in cell phone plans for the period 2010 to 2011.. Kinda slick isn't it? You get gangraped to the tune of 50% price increase but the BS claims that improvements offset prices so there is no inflation. How About a different example? Your 2010 model car ws $30,000. THe 2011 model had a price that was 10% higher but because the car was impoved by 9% (better mileage, sligtly increased crash protection) the net price increase after hedonic regression is only 1%.

Problem 5: Substitutions. Lets just say that your basket of goods and services included centercut pork chops or sirloin steak at $5.00 a lb. In 2011 the price spiked to $8,00 so you stopped buying it. Because prices were so high you started buying hotdogs instead. (these used to be $3.00 a package, but they now cost $5.00). BLS figures there is no real price increase here. You used to buy a product (steak) at $5.00. You now buy a substitute product (hot dogs) that also costs $5.00. Five bucks is five bucks so there is zero inflation here. I dunno about you but bologna and franks ain't steak. We keep reducing our standard of living, making do with inferior products of lower quality because prices are too high, and the BLS sees that substitution as 'proof' there is low inflation..

I don't have any hard numbers. I do not track imaginary baskets of goods. But I do know this. Inflation is running a solid double digits. A can of Pringles jumped from $.99 to $1.49, thats a 50% price increase, and no, I didn't get 50% more enjoyment out of them,. When a half gallon of ice cream that was $4.00 is now priced at $4.40 for a 1.5 quart container, that isn't a 10% increase. Its far more than that accounting for the quantity change. My taxes are up 10, 15% on property, the cost of everything from my prescription co-pays (was $7, now $30), to gas (pushing $4), and everything else has jumped by 20, 30 percent or more over the past couple years. And my income has gone up 2%, and investments are making virtually nothing.

Is hyper inflation here? i dunno. I guess that depends on your definition of Hyper inflation. Its damned high, far higher (as in 3 or 4 times more) than the gubbermint (freaking idiots) claims it is. And everything Washington is doing right now is sending a clear signal: We are going to continue to under report inflation and then print money like its going out of style.

I dunno about you guys, but stockpiling physical goods makes sense. Its hard to stockpile sirloin and ice cream. But you might wanna buy bullets, beans and bandaids cheap and stock em deep. And if you are sitting on a fair pile of cash,it might be better spent on physical assets. You are losing ground every day.

fro


When the rate of inflation exceeds the interest rate, money is free. The near-final consequence of inflation, and the sign of hyperinflation, before repudiation and collapse, is soaring interest rates. At some point, the lenders realize they have no choice but to raise interest rates, because they are losing money on their loans due to devalued currency as a method of repayment. That is your sign. When interest rates start to rise, hyperinflation is setting in.

Hazlitt argues, in The Failure Of The New Economics: An Analysis Of The Keynesian Fallicies (1959) (D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc, 1959) p. 161, as follows:

The easiest way to point to an undeniable and repeated fact of experience - that in the later stages of hyper-inflation, when further inflation is generally expected, interest rates do begin to soar. This happened in Germany in 1923:

(Here he quotes Constantino Bresciani-Turroni, The economics of Inflation[/i] (London: Allen & Unwin, 1937), p. 360. (Italian edition, 1931.) In the first phases of the inflation the rate of interest tended to rise in Germany, as always happens in a time of monetary depreciation. But for a long time the rise in interest rates was appreciably less than the rate of currency depreciation. Subsequently the rate of interest became more sensitive to the influence of the currency depreciation. As the depreciation became more rapid, the premium for the creditor's risk was bound to increase, and consequently in the final phase of inflation the rate of interest was extremely high. At the beginning of November 1923 the rates for 'call money' rose as high as 30 per cent per day!


This situation will practically always be found in the later stages of a serious inflation. For example, as I write this, there is a serious inflation in Chile, and the commercial bank rate [according to International Financial Statistics (June, 1957), published by the International Monetary Fund] rose from 7.84 per cent in 1937 to 13.95 per cent in 1956.


By this later example, we see that unlike Weimar, the numbers need not [i]seem drastic to the lay-person, nor find application over a short period of time, to satisfy the scenario of hyper-inflation.

OP, I think you are quite correct in your assessment.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 9:46:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 9:47:19 AM EST by AllserviceBilliards]
Originally Posted By pinkmist7-62:
Originally Posted By makintrax73:
Basically I think you're right.

However at the end of the day as long as the .gov doesn't go completely down a socialist path, or completely wreck the ecomony, this is also an argument for investing in businesses with the means to produce goods which will be in demand.


There may be demand, but at what price? $150 inflated dollars for a loaf of bread?



There is no safe hedge against inflation. The greatest wealth in America, in terms of individuals and families, even companies, and in terms of real wealth (goods, land, factories, trains, shoes, etc.), has been consumed over the genrations and what remains is dwindling.

Consider the Biltmore Estate. Built to be self-sufficient in every way, by the most opulent spender in America's history, is a shadow of it's original intent. The family still owns the home, but cannot afford to dwell in it. The property size is massively diminished. The self-sufficiency has given way to tourist review. All the money, wealth, and forethought one man could muster, a man known for his ability to achieve and exceed financially like few others in history, was not enough to privaledge his family and legacy from the ravages of inflation.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 9:50:41 AM EST
Frozenny is spot on. Some serious games are being played to make things look normal.

In my bicycle business I'm seeing constant price adjustments of 10 - 20% per year for most aftermarket parts. Especially those using a lot of metal or rubber. The only time I see prices drop is when a supplier switches factories usually with a corresponding drop in quality.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 9:55:01 AM EST
and because there's no income going up, margins on ALL business's (except mafia government) are getting crushed
if you raise prices you lose business

so your inputs go up, but your prices stay the same

expect to see a giant wooshing sound as all the air goes out of the stock bubble as the companies miss and miss badly.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 10:02:55 AM EST
Assuming high inflation, stockpiling is not a good long term solution. Eventually you will run out of everything that you cannot make for yourself.

None of us are completely self-sufficient for the long term. Even extremely independent folks such as Dick Proenneke had to rely on outside infusions of goods to keep things going (Proenneke relied on regular air drops of supplies and mail from Babe Alsworth flying out of Lake Tanalian). Presumably the solution would be to "go native" and learn to be completely self-sufficient living off the land, but who amongst us has the skill (or time) to do so?

Originally Posted By frozenny:
I don't have any hard numbers. I do not track imaginary baskets of goods.


I agree with this sentiment. However, the analytical side of me would like hard numbers to back things up. Numbers do not lie.

Link Posted: 1/5/2012 10:08:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Lomshek:
In my bicycle business I'm seeing constant price adjustments of 10 - 20% per year for most aftermarket parts. Especially those using a lot of metal or rubber. The only time I see prices drop is when a supplier switches factories usually with a corresponding drop in quality.


Yeah, I just started to price out bicycles myself. My sister and BIL have high-end carbon bikes and I wanted one too ... until I started looking at pricing! It also appears each new model year is accompanied by price increases and lower quality components (i.e. Tiagra components instead of 105s).

I think I'm better off buying a 2010 or 2011 all-carbon endurance bike on closeout rather than buying a current year model.

(Sorry for the bike related hijack.)
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 10:24:02 AM EST
Besides the inflationary numbers they are also tweaking the unemployment and new employment numbers.

Obama needs lower unemployment numbers by the end of year.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 10:26:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 10:26:18 AM EST by TexRdnec]
i'm liking the offerings from the likes of lake city and the u.s. mint right about now...
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 1:40:01 PM EST
Feral, Thank you for moving this back.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 1:45:17 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 2:31:05 PM EST
OP, there is one major point you are forgetting.

The calculated inflation numbers are keeping us out of defined recession.

The GDP is added all up and then adjusted for inflation. If the .gov says that the GDP went up 2% after being adjusted for inflation but the inflation number they use is 2.5% and the real inflation is 12%, the simple fact is that if they use the real inflation number to adjust the GDP it would have shown a real decline in GDP every quarter since Sep 2008 and they would have to admit being in a constant recession for over 3 years. Sort of like a Great Depression.

Instead they fudge the inflation numbers, the GDP stops declining and viola, we are in recovery!!

The GDP has been growing strictly due to real inflation for over 3 years.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 6:42:35 PM EST
There is a theory that claims that (a) either the .gov data is completely full of crap or is being deliberately manipulated to not show inflation or (b) the "inflation" numbers the .gov are correct in a classical sense but the sharp decline in the value of the dollar due to stupid FedRes money printing has caused the the dollar to be worth less relative to the goods and services it can buy. (Note that part b is absolutely true relative to oil.) Then there is what the OP points out - there are deliberate "adjustments" to real data that the .gov claims as a feature which anyone with functioning cranial neurons would regard as a bug, such as hedonics.

OTOH, how would one handle the computer, TV, etc. DECREASES in cost? Clearly, those are happening but the fact is that there have been wholesale feature changes that were previously unavailable. But, we're seeing huge increases in the cost of cell phones and related services. Granted, those cell phones do more and there are more services, but the comparison of cell phones and service today vs. a decade ago is simply not credible. It appears that a higher percentage of people's disposable income are being spent on such things. Is that because they are more expensive or because they stopped spending money on other things (like going to movies or something)? Not clear. Further, as the telecom companies coagulate and become less competitive, that will drive up prices even though there is no real cost driver forcing function.

The notion that "core" inflation as it is currently defined as excluding food and energy is just insane. I could see "core" excluding such things as telecom costs because they are not, in fact, a necessity. Food most certainly is. Energy most certainly is both directly (gasoline, heating oil or natural gas, etc.) and indirectly (as a hidden cost in all of the remaining products we buy). In this context, real inflation most certainly has been running 10-13% per year.

BTW, if you want to get an idea of the impact of inflation, I'll relate my experience at the Shell station today. Gas prices have gone up 7 cents in the last few days here. Today the local Shell station has their Thursday discount day, usually 5 cents sometimes 10. It was 7 today and there were cars wrapped around from the entrance to the facing street from about 4:30 this afternoon all the way until 10:30 this evening. Somebody said there was a news story about the possibility of $5 gas soon. If gas really does go that high, we won't have to worry about another recession, we'll have to worry about a major depression. Remember, we still haven't gotten back down to the $2/gal we were at in 2007.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 9:11:25 PM EST
Are you-all saying our government's lying to us???



Link Posted: 1/5/2012 10:53:31 PM EST
Overall, a nice simplified and succinct analysis, good post.

What's interesting is some of the recently proposed changes to the CPI, such as instituting a system of averaging similar to the chain-weighted averaging that is part of the GDP deflator, which would further degrade the objectivity of the CPI. It seems like every decade or two we have to add even more exceptions to the CPI to further downplay inflation. Substitutions then hedonics, now some weighted averaging.

As a side note, GDP adjusted for inflation does NOT use the CPI inflation figure, it uses another metric that is typically even lower than the CPI. In reality, if you start tracking price trends and a market basket of goods, you'll see that the miniscule "growth" of the U.S. economy reported in some years is in reality an economic contraction. We've simply got a greater number of people chasing fewer well-paying jobs than we did decades ago.

And, of course, we no longer have published M3 data. "Too expensive too collect, and really doesn't tell us anything that M1 and M2 don't about inflation" says the Fed.

Oh, and then we have employment figures as well.

At the end of the day, if by flawed yard sticks and some clever little economic "stimulus" you can keep the DJIA up, the CPI and Unemployment figures down, then everyone's going to assume you're doing a good job. People typically don't look beyond those three little barometers.
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 1:28:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By Fintan:

Oh, and then we have employment figures as well.

At the end of the day, if by flawed yard sticks and some clever little economic "stimulus" you can keep the DJIA up, the CPI and Unemployment figures down, then everyone's going to assume you're doing a good job. People typically don't look beyond those three little barometers.


I have occasionally looked at the U6 employment numbers, and by gosh, they don't seem to be going up either. Where did all those people who dropped off the unemployment rolls go then? They must have died.

I wish the news media would do at least a little digging and report other numbers like the U6 numbers. But then those numbers would make their golden haired boy look badly.


Link Posted: 1/6/2012 2:32:36 AM EST

Originally Posted By frozenny:

I don't have any hard numbers. I do not track imaginary baskets of goods.

fro

This shouldn't be that hard to do, maybe I'll give it a whack. Pick the top 25 or so things we buy each week/month and keep a spreadsheet, and see where it is in dec: 20 gal of diesel, fryer chicken, 1 pound of balogna, 20 gal of propane, box of cheerios, 2 gallons of milk, ...

It would be the Slice index, based on what we use here, but would be marginally useful?

Interesting idea, and overall a good read froz, thanks.

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