On his Fox News program tonight, Glenn Beck encouraged his viewers to start storing up food because, he insisted, devastating inflation in food prices is on its way. Beck enlisted the help of Eric Bolling from the Fox Business Network, ostensibly to lend the credibility of a cable financial host to his inflation fearmongering. Bolling claimed that the government numbers on inflation are obscuring how bad it really is because they "remove food and energy" prices:
BOLLING: The government will tell you, people will tell that you we don't even have inflation. The reason for that is because the government puts out an inflation number that removes food and energy. How convenient, right? Because the only two things that we really use every day -- food and energy. So you remove that and things don't look that [inaudible] bad.
Actually, the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out inflation numbers that do include food and energy. They also put out inflation numbers that exclude food and energy as well as figures for food specifically. It's all here in their monthly report.
BLS explains their Consumer Price Index reports here:
Our broadest and most comprehensive CPI is called the All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the U.S. City Average, 1982-84 = 100.
In addition to the All Items CPI, BLS publishes thousands of other consumer price indexes. One such index is called "All items less food and energy". Some users of CPI data use this index because food and energy prices are relatively volatile, and these users want to focus on what they perceive to be the "core" or "underlying" rate of inflation.
Again, while we publish many indexes, our broadest measure of inflation includes all items consumers purchase, including food and energy. In addition, when CPI data are reported, these data can be reported on a not seasonally adjusted basis as well as a seasonally adjusted basis.
So what did the numbers look like when you include food and energy prices? From BLS:
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in October, the third month in a row with no change.
BLS also reported that the price of food items increased .1 percent in October.
But seriously, start filling those mason jars.
From the November 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck: