Federal Reserve bank data Saint Louis. Re: Perkins economic hit-man, ISIS war, oil prices no difference, Iraq, Re: $3.39 gasoline, food inflation


I challenge you to find a single wrong number on the St. Louis Fed website. Might be a ticket to a data job. One reason I graph complete time series is to spot errors. Years ago errors could be found. Now very rare. Quality in the computerized world is getting better in many respects.

For the USA important series the data are probably over 99.999% accurate. Maybe 100% accurate. The USA numbers are generated by computer programs many decades old. Any bugs were probably fixed many years ago, but there can be new bugs introduced by new machines and software.

The data are probably over 99% perfect even for the poor small countries for which it covers. What errors might be there might be trivial enough to be ignored.

It is a large database from many sources as the numbers below indicate. Errors might creep in when so much tedious work is involved.


FRED by the numbers June 4, 2014
223,000 economic time series
88,531 international series
37,170,431 data points
67 sources
213 countries’ data contained in FRED
227 countries’ residents using FRED
715 published data lists
3 months of FRED blog posts
2,600+ FRED graphs embedded in other websites
500+ user dashboards created
6 additional doors to FRED data:
GeoFRED, ALFRED, Excel Add-in, API, FRED app,
mobile FRED

On 6/28/14 Ron wrote:
> I try not to limit myself to canned and homogenized sources such as > the “Wikipedia”, “The World Book Encyclopedia”, or “Snopes” or sources > such as “The New York Times” or the “Fed” website that have > demonstrated repeatedly a lack of objectivity and credibility. >
> Ron,
> Perkins does not have the background to forecast oil prices according to > article below. Resume looks like a Peace Corps draft dodger college > dropout during the Vietnam War. He does not like the system so tries to > muck it up. Forecasting is difficult. Accomplished by mathematical > models and data. Difficult work. I would look to see what data and > models he is using. Hippies running around saying the sky is falling > should be ignored. Especially with outrageous forecasts. Just look at > his models and data. Are they better than the alternatives? >
> Anybody can see there is something going on in the middle east (esp. > Iraq Syria) and that usually impacts oil prices, often greatly. I am > seeing about 10 cents per week increases in gasoline prices (summer peak > travel?). I am sure some (BP) would like to see oil and fuel prices to > increase much more. There is a risk that this can happen. But the ISIS > “invasion?” may fizzle or even make oil prices go down. I have yet to > see a good analysis of what is going on with ISIS and likely outcomes. > Once that is figured out one can analyze each scenario on how that would > impact oil prices. If the war spreads we may have more to worry about > than oil prices — like another mideast or Iraq war. Obama Kerry may > not be up to the task of making good decisions.
> Wild guess: Iraq is too Shiite dominated (Bush plan) and Iran > influenced. Kurds, Israel, Sunnis would probably want ISIS to take over > the north Iraq and push the Shiites into the south, maybe partition > Baghdad or take it over. At least force the current Iraq Government to > share more power. Reduce Iran + Iraq danger to Israel and the Kurdish > oil fields. (Kurds are smart.) More oil might flow thus lowering oil > prices.
> I never liked the idea of invading Iraq (Bush 2). Saddam Hussein had no > WMD and was a useful buffer state to protect Israel from Iran. (Iraq > fought Iran to a draw 1978-). I don’t think ISIS will be able to be as > strong as Saddam Hussein no matter who is funding them.
> There probably will be quite a lot of fighting for decades somewhere in > the Middle East. Deflation has made guns and potent military hardware > cheap and widespread around the world. More and better and cheaper > constantly being produced. They will use those weapons, sooner or later. >
> Nevertheless, the Middle East does not matter much to USA if we can stay > out of the wars. Middle east wars have been going on for thousands of > years with little impact on the USA until 1973.
> High gas and oil prices would be great to force Americans to exercise > more and quit over-heating and over air-conditioning their houses thus > reducing disease.
> Low gas and oil prices are also ok so people can pay down debt, eat > healthier food, and buy more gym memberships,… It is a win-win war > for USA — we are not fighting (hopefully). Kerry has done nothing to > protect the Mexican border so he may as well ship out to Iraq or Ukraine > to get him out of USA. Permanently better. Take Obama and Clinton with > him.
> Some companies will lose in either case. For example:
> expensive oil: People walk to work so they won’t need the
> medical-industrial complex so much. This leaves them with money for > other products, like cars, houses, broccoli,…
> cheap oil: People drive more so get sicker. They will need medical > care so other industries will suffer. People won’t be buying so many new > cars, houses, broccoli …
> Price fluctuations cannot keep the economy from getting larger and > larger over time. Price fluctuations can only cause people to buy some > products instead of other products.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Perkins_(author)
> Perkins graduated from the Tilton School in 1963. He subsequently > attended Middlebury College for two years before dropping out due to > lackluster grades. He later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in > business administration from Boston University in 1968. He was a Peace > Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 1968 to 1970. an expert on indigenous > cultures and shamanism, a teacher and writer who used this expertise to > promote ecology and sustainability. He spent the 1970s working for the > Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main; he claims to have been > screened for this job by the National Security Agency (NSA) and > subsequently hired by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (alleged by > Perkins to have been acting as an NSA liaison, a claim which Greve has > denied). Perkins’s time at Chas T. Main, an engineering consultancy, > provides the basis for his subsequent published claims that, as an > “economic hit man”, he was charged with inducing developing countries to > borrow large amounts of money, designated to pay for questionable > infrastructure investments, but ultimately with a view to making the > debt-laden countries more dependent, economically and politically, upon > the West.
> On 6/26/14, Ron wrote:
> > Regarding oil prices John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic > > Hitman”) in a recent USAWatchdog.com interview gives a 60% probability > > of oil going to between $160 and $250 per barrel with deepening > > mideast fighting.


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