Truthsquad on Inflation
The U.S. government "calculate[s] inflation without adding in the price of food and energy."
Glenn Beck, Fox News on measuring inflation
Source: Fox News

Editor Findings

  • Truthsquadeditoricon_thumb_thumb
    Mostly False
    Scott Rosenberg
    On a Thanksgiving broadcast on Nov. 23, Glenn Beck of the Fox News Channel declared that the U.S. government "calculates inflation without adding in the price of food and energy." We find this claim to be mostly false.

    The U.S. government does have several different indices it uses to measure inflation over time. One of them, the "core" inflation rate, does exclude food and energy because historically they tend to hop up and down over short time spans. One could therefore argue that Beck's statement is accurate in a narrow sense -- since the government actually calculates inflation both with and without "adding in the price of food and energy."

    But a closer reading of Beck's broadcast makes it impossible to justify his statement on this narrow ground. Beck's whole point is that the government has deliberately changed its method of calculating inflation so it can hide how high prices have climbed. That claim has no basis. The government has not changed its practices, and inflation remains low by any yardstick -- with or without food and energy included.

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Community Findings

Mostly False (2.0)
Show:
  • Jon Mitchell
    Jon Mitchell
    False
    Misleading. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is "the government," calculates and publishes inflation statistics in all kinds of ways, one of which is the core CPI, which does not include food and energy costs. Now, the Federal Reserve has switched to using core CPI, as have policymakers, so laws are made in a way resembling what Beck suggests. However, "the government" certainly calculates measures of inflation that include those costs. If the media report misleading inflation statistics, it's their fault. If the public accepts them, it's ours.
  • Fabrice Florin
    Fabrice Florin
    False
  • Ezra Fox
    Ezra Fox
    False
  • Howard Finberg
    Howard Finberg
    False
  • Mike LaBonte
    Mike LaBonte
    True
    True but deceptive, because Beck's wording implies that they ONLY calculate it without food and energy, and that this becomes THE inflation metric. That is of course not true.
  • Fred Gatlin
    Fred Gatlin
    False
    When it comes to cable news these truth squad questions fail to resolve cable news issues. A representative democracy requires good information about issues and politics. If the voters do not vote or vote lacking good information our country is in trouble. Too many rely on cable news or television news. As a result they are not well informed. Who said what and is it truthful is a Don Quixote effort. I am concerned about most or all of these questions are a blemish on NewsTrust.
  • Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
    Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
    False
  • Kevin Doyle Jones
    Kevin Doyle Jones
    False
  • Sheldon Rampton
    Sheldon Rampton
    False
  • Linda Brayton
    Linda Brayton
    True
    We may need a category for half truths, especially for Mr. Beck.
  • Todd Cass
    Todd Cass
    False
  • Marsha Iverson
    Marsha Iverson
    False
  • Peggy Kruse
    Peggy Kruse
    False
    As others have said, the U.S. government calculates inflation many ways, including in total and another way without food and energy (core rate). So it is not true that the it calculates inflation without adding in the price of food and energy... It is how the various inflation rates (all vs core vs etc., etc., etc.) are used that impact the economy. COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) increases for Social Security are based on the total inflation rate, which includes food and energy. That is why Social Security increased almost 6 percent for 2009 (a great stimulus at the time) -- because gasoline prices had risen so much through September 2008 (the time of measurement). The reason for no social security increases for 2010 and 2011 is that gasoline prices then fell after September 2008 and the total index has not yet risen above the September 2008 level.
  • Glenn LaBauve
    Glenn LaBauve
    False
  • Bob Herrschaft
    Bob Herrschaft
    Not Sure
    ...if it's true it would be one of the few things Glenn Beck is right about
  • Shawn Kerry Inlow
    Shawn Kerry Inlow
    False
    Okay. Since I saw the original broadcast just now, with the quote expanded... I guess that's a good starting point for fact-checking, right? ... Beck is just lying.
  • Ellie Kesselman
    Ellie Kesselman
    False
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the authoritative source in calculating CPI. Even the briefest glance at their FAQ confirm than food and energy are included in the CPI. The CPI would be totally useless as an economic indicator without including food and energy. The only issue, which is not in fact a problem at all, is the fact that a method of geometric means is used in the methodology for the calculation. This is a best standards practice consistent with other Government and private company statistical calculations for metrics aggregated over time. That is perhaps the source of Glen Beck's (or other more informed parties' objections, though it can be quickly explained.
  • Khalilah Harris
    Khalilah Harris
    True
  • David Agnew
    David Agnew
    False
  • Ben Ross
    Ben Ross
    True
    What is the definition "U S government" ....Beck makes the correct assumption that the entire unemployment figures is a sham...designed to keep the public in the dark....expressing the sickness we often feel with our corrupt, non representative government.
  • Mike Carlson
    Mike Carlson
    False
    This is simply wrong headed. Energy costs are a major portion of both the CPI & PPI. Energy adjusted indexes are reported separately. Mr. Beck is either reporting falsely to boost ratings or is simply ignorant ... or both.
  • Deborah Plummer
    Deborah Plummer
    False
  • Lynn Caporale
  • Carlos R. Candelaria
    Carlos R. Candelaria
    Not Sure
  • Joel Kulenkamp
    Joel Kulenkamp
    False
  • Nick Penniman
    Nick Penniman
    False
  • Margaret McGowan
    Margaret McGowan
    False
    The government calculates inflation both with and without food and energy. The rate without food and energy is called "core inflation." It calculates this because food and energy tend to fluctuate more than other costs and thus are a less useful measure of overall inflation.
  • Richard Mitchell
    Richard Mitchell
    False
  • Mark Pettit
    Mark Pettit
    True
    It's true, but totally misleading. It's true that the government (the Bureau of Labor Statistics) calculates inflation without adding in the price of food and energy. That's called the core CPI. They also calculate inflation and include food and energy. The problem is that Beck wants to make the government sound like they're "hiding" data from consumers, and nothing could be further from the truth.
  • John H. McManus
    John H. McManus
    False
    The government calculates more than one inflation index: one with volatile components like food and energy excluded and one with them included. Beck's statement is misleading.
  • Charles Aylworth
    Charles Aylworth
    False
    Without pointing out that "Core CPI" is not the only "CPI", the statement is clearly intended to mislead. That counts as False in my book.
  • Brian D. Collins
    Brian D. Collins
    False
  • jack fischer
    jack fischer
    False
  • marc sobel
    marc sobel
    False
    There is a measure of core inflation which does not have food and energy which is highly volatile but there is also one which has them in it. It is a misleading statement.
  • Karen Nelson
    Karen Nelson
    True
  • Peter Glover
    Peter Glover
    False
  • Philip Meyer
    Philip Meyer
    False
    He just made that up.
  • Joyce Salomon
    Joyce Salomon
    False
  • Kent Minault
    Kent Minault
    False
  • George Watson
    George Watson
    False
  • Lynn R. Willis
    Lynn R. Willis
    True
  • Samuel W.  Velsor IV
    Samuel W. Velsor IV
    True
    This is unfair to those on both Social Security or SSDI. Where food inflation is high but we do NOT get benefits to cover our being able to EAT!!
  • Patrick McGuire
    Patrick McGuire
    True
    They never have.
  • Paul Belle-Isle
    Paul Belle-Isle
    False
  • Harry A Farr
    Harry A Farr
    Not Sure
  • David Dresser
    David Dresser
    False
  • Rene Thompson
    Rene Thompson
    False
  • margaret draper
    margaret draper
    True
    From an article I read in Harper's magazine, I believe that food and rent are NOT included in the inflation calculation - I remember it because I thought it so absurd. So if that is what Mr. Beck said, and only that, then I think he is correct.
  • Richard McIlnay
    Richard McIlnay
    False
    One of the problems with Beck and other right wingers is the use of the word government. There is no such thing as "government" which exists only in the abstract. Thre is Congress, the supreme court, regulatory agencies, the military, the administration so when they talk about reducing government, what goovernment do they mean ? When that answer is given specificall, many people might be upset.
  • Morton Kurzweil
    Morton Kurzweil
    True
  • Margaret Yonco-Haines
    Margaret Yonco-Haines
    False
  • Roland F. Hirsch
    Roland F. Hirsch
    True
    Yes, the government indeed does calculate inflation without adding the price of food and energy. It also calculates an inflation index with those categories included, but for several years the headline number has always been the inflation rate without food and energy. The complete number is downplayed by the government as too erratic to be useful for policy-making. So Mr Beck is correct.
  • Walaika Haskins
    Walaika Haskins
    False
  • Lucy Sells
    Lucy Sells
    False
  • Henry A. Jensen
    Henry A. Jensen
    False
  • Dyann Putman
    Dyann Putman
    False
  • Jack Dinkmeyer
    Jack Dinkmeyer
    False
    Everything coming out of the melodramatic mouth from the master of scare, distortions, and nutcake religion is suspect.
  • Jacob Listerud
    Jacob Listerud
    False
    Glen Bleech is a mindless idiot who supports all those other mindless idiots who want nothing more than to deteriorate America into an abandoned wasteland where everyone must fend for themselves.
  • Anthony Carelly
    Anthony Carelly
    Not Sure
  • Don Bingham
    Don Bingham
    True
  • Travis Plummer
    Travis Plummer
    False
  • Cheri Levenson
    Cheri Levenson
    False
  • Frank Whitman
    Frank Whitman
    False
    THE VERY FIRST THING USED IN THE CALCULATION IS FOOD,CLOTHING,AND ENERGY
  • Jeff Harris
    Jeff Harris
    False
    Glenn Beck makes up things to put into his circles of "logic" therefore it is most likely false but it is the kind of crap that Rupert Murdoch pays jerks to say.
  • Edward Craig
    Edward Craig
    True
  • Don Bliss
    Don Bliss
    Not Sure
  • Linda M Shoop
    Linda M Shoop
    False
  • Waidy Lee
    Waidy Lee
    True
  • Michael Daly
    Michael Daly
    False
  • Colleen E Bushey
    Colleen E Bushey
    True
  • Peter Avalos
    Peter Avalos
    False
  • Andrey Mankin
    Andrey Mankin
    True
  • Thomas Rowan
    Thomas Rowan
    False
    This Fox News channel isn't even worth the effort. A general boycott is called for. Whatever you can not support that supports Fox, do it.
  • Joseph Shirk
    Joseph Shirk
    False
  • Marcelle Bessman
    Marcelle Bessman
    False
  • Sue Harris
    Sue Harris
    True
    factcheck all the folk saying the same thing. I have heard it on CNBC and others.
  • Deb Duncan
    Deb Duncan
    False
    Inflation is measured by CPI and PPI. CPI tracks average price level changes at the consumer level in housing, transportation, food, insurance & pension, health, clothing, entertainment and "miscellaneous." PPI measures changes in the average price level changes at the wholesale level. The PPI survey is limited, though, to businesses in the mining, manufacturing and agriculture industries. While energy is not included in the CPI or PPI measures of inflation, food certainly is. Update: I just saw Jon Mitchell's comment, and he is correct that CORE CPI does not include food and energy costs.
  • Sean Duffy
    Sean Duffy
    Not Sure
  • William Lovsmith
    William Lovsmith
    False
  • Joseph Hardin
    Joseph Hardin
    False
    National statistics are available for core and other forms of inflation measures, including food and energy. Different measures are used for different things. This seems to me to be another example of Beck misleading in order to engender mistrust.
  • Travis Morgan
    Travis Morgan
    True
  • Gayle Archuleta
    Gayle Archuleta
    Not Sure
  • Bruce David
    Bruce David
    True
  • Jim Marshall
    Jim Marshall
    False
  • Reta Richardson
    Reta Richardson
    False
  • John Carbone
    John Carbone
    True
  • Shandon Bates
    Shandon Bates
    False
  • Kevin O'Morrison
    Kevin O'Morrison
    False
  • Gary Boivin
    Gary Boivin
    False
  • shirley wershba
    shirley wershba
    False
  • Tanja
    Tanja
    True
  • Howard Powell
    Howard Powell
    False
  • Curtis Ballard Sr
    Curtis Ballard Sr
    False
  • Felix Bertelsen
    Felix Bertelsen
    False
  • Terry Christensen
    Terry Christensen
    False
  • Charles Wallace
    Charles Wallace
    True
    The *core rate* of inflation is calculated without energy prices, and I believe without food prices as well, because these fluctuate so much. A separate measure of inflation is also reported with energy and food included, but it is not the core rate.
  • Dennis Currier
    Dennis Currier
    False
  • Michael E. Russell
    Michael E. Russell
    True
  • Tavison
    Tavison
    True
    I know technically it's false. However, If I say that the Fed is tasked with setting Employment and Inflation targets, we would not say that was false. When we just say inflation we are expected to to mean core inflation.
  • Jim Coons
    Jim Coons
    False
  • Michael Rasmussen
    Michael Rasmussen
    True
    It's true, but it is also misleading. Ask a Nobel prize winning economist: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/core-logic-still/
  • Troy Pheil
    Troy Pheil
    True
  • paul steinmiller
    paul steinmiller
    Not Sure
  • Clayton Powers
    Clayton Powers
    True
  • Peter Hansen
    Peter Hansen
    False
    The "all items" index does indeed include food and energy. Beck's selection of a single index that does not include food and energy is another example of him misleading the public to his own ends - whatever they are!
  • Harvey Elwood Jr
    Harvey Elwood Jr
    False
    I was not sure at all and had little time at research. However I am very thankful to other members of the truth squad like Margaret McGowan, Mark Pettit, Roland Hirsch, Deb Duncan and Jeff Watins whose combined answers provided me with a much better understanding of the issue. Thank You All and Thank You TruthSquad
  • Amala Lane
    Amala Lane
    False
  • Hugh Malchesky
    Hugh Malchesky
    False
  • Mark Martin
    Mark Martin
    False
  • Ron Denton
    Ron Denton
    True
    Yes it can be said to be true. The problem is that the U.S. govet. is so vast and has so many things going on that it is next to impossible to prove a negative about something the U.S. Govt. does or does not do. This makes it easy to say whatever you want, but also makes it hard to fact-check because it is a vague statement. What part of the govt.? In what context? for COLA or for OMB stats for predicting the cost of legislation or what? It does not matter whether it is Beck or Maddow, they are both entertainers trying to maintain an audience in order to sell soap, prescriptions, gold, insurance, cars, etc.
  • Peter C.Wilson
    Peter C.Wilson
    False
  • Sarah Shaw Tatoun
    Sarah Shaw Tatoun
    False
  • Tobie Openshaw
    Tobie Openshaw
    False
  • Robert Keith Bernard
    Robert Keith Bernard
    False
  • John Herbert
    John Herbert
    False
  • Sally Dunford
    Sally Dunford
    False
  • Carla McDonald Elliott
    Carla McDonald Elliott
    False
  • Katie Tex Milewski
    Katie Tex Milewski
    False
  • Andy Tobias
    Andy Tobias
    Not Sure
  • Mike Haas
    Mike Haas
    False
  • Jack W. Barnes
    Jack W. Barnes
    Not Sure
    REALLY!! WHO CARES??
  • Kevin Smith
    Kevin Smith
    False
    The BLS' calculation of the CPI does include food and energy, if I'm not mistaken.
  • Giorgio Meletti
    Giorgio Meletti
    True
  • andreas ohland
    andreas ohland
    False
  • Donald Barnes
    Donald Barnes
    False
  • Jeff Sharon
    Jeff Sharon
    False
  • Kevin McCaffery
    Kevin McCaffery
    True
    they calculate with and without food and energy
  • Daniel Callahan
    Daniel Callahan
    False
  • Nadia Sindi
    Nadia Sindi
    False
  • Felix
    Felix
    False
  • John Hartnett
    John Hartnett
    False
    Becky always reminds me of Mary McCarthy's quote about Lillian Hellman, "Every word she says is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'". Aside from gender, this almost always true of Becky, and I would wager it's true in this case too.
  • Robert Garcia
    Robert Garcia
    False
    Apparently, Beck's personal education has left him without any real knowledge about anything.
  • Allan Edwards
    Allan Edwards
    False
  • Caroline Halliwell
    Caroline Halliwell
    True
    Government reports 2 CPI's Core CPI is reported without food and energy...CPI is reported with both
  • Raymond Brookins
  • Bill Nemitz
    Bill Nemitz
    False
    Sue,Hope you don't mind my intruding in your reply to Josh C.Though I doubt you and I see very many things the in the same light,I think it's a great idea that we fact check the President,Vice President,Sec.Clinton and the rest.Truth,justice and the American way,ain't just for TV super hero's.
  • Patrck F Fitzgerald
    Patrck F Fitzgerald
    True
  • Jerome Freehill
    Jerome Freehill
    True
    As much as I hate to admit any thing G. Beck says is true, I understand that this true.
  • Larry S. Balch
    Larry S. Balch
    False
  • James J. Pottmyer
    James J. Pottmyer
    False
    That would be true only for one metric known as "core inflation," not for the more common consumer price index. The U.S. government calculates several "market baskets" that give different perspectives on inflation.
  • Doug Beaney
    Doug Beaney
    False
  • artief
    artief
    False
  • Andrew P. Robinson
    Andrew P. Robinson
    False
  • Joel W. Griffith
    Joel W. Griffith
    True
  • Lisa Rivers
    Lisa Rivers
    False
    That NY Times story doesn't really support his point. It indicates the measure it both with and without food & energy.
  • Alexis Rachel
    Alexis Rachel
    Not Sure
    It doesn't seem likely, but at this point I don't have data to support that stance.
  • Scott Mace
    Scott Mace
    True
    Yes, and the government also calculates inflation in other ways, too. The best way to measure core inflation is to remove highly volatile food and energy prices (see Paul Krugman). So, as is often the case, what the Big Blowhard said is technically true, it's a long way from the truth.
  • Lawrence H
    Lawrence H
    False
  • William Martin
    William Martin
    True
    The question is open to multiple interpretations. The "core" inflation rate excludes changes to food and energy. However, the "normal" inflation rate includes them.
  • Rick Remington
    Rick Remington
    False
  • Steve Squier
    Steve Squier
    Not Sure
  • CF Marsh
    CF Marsh
    True
  • Krystyna Olsen
    Krystyna Olsen
    Not Sure
  • Martin Hurwitz
    Martin Hurwitz
    False
  • Scott Ross
    Scott Ross
    False
  • Robert Modica
    Robert Modica
    False
  • Harry molwitz
    Harry molwitz
    False
  • Lisa Dee
    Lisa Dee
    False
  • Rishma Lucknauth
    Rishma Lucknauth
    False
  • Charles Krakoff
    Charles Krakoff
    False
  • Jeff Watkins
    Jeff Watkins
    False
    Inflation is estimated in many ways. One common way is through the consumer price index which looks at the relative price changes of various goods and services. While these various goods and services are given different weights (less volatile values given higher weights, more volatile values given lower weights) its not correct to say any one given thing isn't "added in". Just because it isn't the dominant factor, allowing a single dominant factor would decrease the value of the consumer price index as a predictive tool.
  • Patrick Tyrrell
    Patrick Tyrrell
    False
  • newshound
    newshound
    Not Sure
  • Ray Feller
    Ray Feller
    Not Sure
  • Skip Folden
    Skip Folden
    True
  • be pe
    be pe
    False
  • buzz daly
    buzz daly
    False
    glen beck is a congenital liar
  • Dannyjnes
    Dannyjnes
    Not Sure
  • William Maxfield
    William Maxfield
    False
  • Ed Fraser
    Ed Fraser
    True
    OK, informative in that there are multiple governmental inflation rates. However, the famous one is CPI, which excludes food and energy. But's it's nice to know that Social Security uses CPI-W, which includes food and energy.
  • bobbullets
    bobbullets
    True
  • Roger W. English
    Roger W. English
    False
  • Ann Burruss
    Ann Burruss
    False
    "Core inflation" is calculated without energy or food prices because they are volatile. "Headline inflation" is calculated with energy and food prices included. Beck does not read Paul Krugman.

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