On a Thanksgiving broadcast on Nov. 23, Glenn Beck of the Fox News
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
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
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