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If you believe the government numbers, inflation is about 3% annually....

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Of course, there is no seasonal adjustment over 12 months (you have to love the wordsmiths at the BLS). The internals are interesting; among the things rising rapidly in price are meats and dairy (you don't need the government to know this) along with fats and oils and sugar -- all up big.

Interestingly, rent and lodging, along with "Owner's equivalent rent" (one of the BLS's better scams) all rose about 2% annualized. Fuels, on the other hand, were up nearly 10% annualized -- and that one hurts. Thank goodness for a mild winter.

Again, the BLS claims that medical care was up "only" 3.6% annualized, but 0.6% this last month. That's a 7.5% increase if the month annualizes, but the problem with these figures is that they expose only the personally paid costs -- the shifted ones, as I discussed in another article today, are excluded.

Unfortunately, irrespective of the intentional distortions in the data, the CPI still discloses an inflation rate that is a full 50% higher than Bernanke's bogus (and, I argue, unlawful) "target." Not that I believe he (or anyone else in government) cares.

Source: CPI Up 0.2% - Both Headline and Core