A funny thing happened to me on the internet the other day. Like many economists, I’ve been looking at various measures of underlying inflation to try to peer through the economic fog, and I thought I should post an update on one measure that I’ve emphasized in the past: consumer prices excluding food, energy, used cars and shelter. To my surprise, my dry technical post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, drew a huge number of mostly hostile comments.
There were also outraged comments on other social media platforms and some angry emails. The gist of most of this outburst was that I was trying to hide the problems facing Americans by using a measure of falling inflation that excluded much or most of what real people worry about.