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Real (Inflation-Adjusted) Gross Domestic Product, 1929-2016

This interactive graph shows the real gross domestic product of the United States, inflation adjusted from 1929 through 2016. This graph shows that America is roughly 15% wealthier then in 2009, and 28% wealthier then in 2000. While it can be argued over the fairness of current wealth distribution patterns, and while per capita wealth has grown at a slower rate, it is clear that America has seen a dramatic growth of it's total wealth over recent years.

Data Source: https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=9&step=1#reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=1929&903=3&906=a&905=2016&910=x&911=0

Trump Administration Files Motion Aimed At Controlling Consumer Protection Agency

"The Trump administration has gone to court to try to bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under its control. The bureau is an executive branch entity, but the president doesn't have direct control over the six-year-old agency.

The Justice Department filed a brief with a federal appeals court in Washington on Friday, making the case that the structure of the agency violates the Constitution."

Federal Funds Target Rate, 1982-Present

The federal funds rate has fallen to historic levels after the recession, but continues to inch upwards as the economy recovers. During the recession, the FED rate was to a target of 0 to 0.25 (they set a lower and upper range, because they wanted to get the target rate as close to zero without causing a negative rate and deflation).

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Federal Funds Target Rate (DISCONTINUED) [DFEDTAR], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTAR, March 15, 2017.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Federal Funds Target Range - Upper Limit [DFEDTARU], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARU, March 15, 2017.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Federal Funds Target Range - Lower Limit [DFEDTARL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARL, March 15, 2017.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items

This graph shows the change in the Consumer Price Index for each month compared to one year ago, the same month.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items (CPIAUCSL) is a measure of the average monthly change in the price for goods and services paid by urban consumers between any two time periods.(1) It can also represent the buying habits of urban consumers. This particular index includes roughly 88 percent of the total population, accounting for wage earners, clerical workers, technical workers, self-employed, short-term workers, unemployed, retirees, and those not in the labor force.(1)

The CPIs are based on prices for food, clothing, shelter, and fuels; transportation fares; service fees (e.g., water and sewer service); and sales taxes. Prices are collected monthly from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments across 87 urban areas.(1) To calculate the index, price changes are averaged with weights representing their importance in the spending of the particular group. The index measures price changes (as a percent change) from a predetermined reference date.(1) In addition to the original unadjusted index distributed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also releases a seasonally adjusted index. The unadjusted series reflects all factors that may influence a change in prices. However, it can be very useful to look at the seasonally adjusted CPI, which removes the effects of seasonal changes, such as weather, school year, production cycles, and holidays.(1)

The CPI can be used to recognize periods of inflation and deflation. Significant increases in the CPI within a short time frame might indicate a period of inflation, and significant decreases in CPI within a short time frame might indicate a period of deflation. However, because the CPI includes volatile food and oil prices, it might not be a reliable measure of inflationary and deflationary periods. For a more accurate detection, the core CPI (Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items Less Food & Energy [CPILFESL]) is often used. When using the CPI, please note that it is not applicable to all consumers and should not be used to determine relative living costs.(1) Additionally, the CPI is a statistical measure vulnerable to sampling error since it is based on a sample of prices and not the complete average.(1)

For more information on the consumer price indexes, see:
(1) Bureau of Economic Analysis. “CPI Detailed Report.” 2013; http://www.bls.gov/cpi/.
Handbook of Methods - (http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch17.pdf)
Understanding the CPI: Frequently Asked Questions - (http://stats.bls.gov:80/cpi/cpifaq.htm)

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items [CPIAUCSL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL, March 8, 2017.

Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here is what you can really do to save the environment. — Quartz

"As a sustainable lifestyle blogger, my job is to make conscious consumerism look good. Over the course of four years Instagramming eco-friendly outfits, testing non-toxic nail polish brands, and writing sustainable city guides, I became a proponent of having it all—fashion, fun, travel, beauty—while still being eco-friendly. So when I was invited to speak on a panel in front of the UN Youth Delegation, the expectation was that I’d dispense wisdom to bright young students about how their personal purchasing choices can help save the world.
I stood behind the dais in a secondhand blouse, recycled polyester tights, and a locally made pencil skirt, took a deep breath, and began to speak."

“Conscious consumerism is a lie. Small steps taken by thoughtful consumers—to recycle, to eat locally, to buy a blouse made of organic cotton instead of polyester—will not change the world.”

Inflation, consumer prices for the United States

Red - Negative Inflation
Orange - Inflation above 5 percent
Green - Inflation between 0 and 5 percent

Inflation as measured by the consumer price index reflects the annual percentage change in the cost to the average consumer of acquiring a basket of goods and services that may be fixed or changed at specified intervals, such as yearly. The Laspeyres formula is generally used. International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics and data files.

World Bank, Inflation, consumer prices for the United States [FPCPITOTLZGUSA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FPCPITOTLZGUSA, March 3, 2017.

Government current expenditures: Welfare and social services

Historically, spending on welfare and social services increases quicker when there is Republican in control of the White House then when there is a Democrat in control. This may be to the worse economic times that are often occur when Republicans control the White House. Number is not inflation adjusted.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government current expenditures: Income security: Welfare and social services [G160371A027NBEA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/G160371A027NBEA, February 26, 2017.

Gross Domestic Product, by Component, 1947-2016

Last night, President Donald Trump mentioned the US Trade Deficit. While it does exist, and has increased significantly since the early 1970s, the truth is that the US Trade Deficit is only a minor drag on the gross domestic product, only a few percent off of a massive economy that is continuing to grow at a significant rate.

Data Sources:
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Personal Consumption Expenditures [PCEC], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PCEC, March 1, 2017.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Private Domestic Investment [GPDI], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GPDI, March 1, 2017.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Consumption Expenditures and Gross Investment [GCE], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GCE, March 1, 2017.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Net Exports of Goods and Services [NETEXP], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NETEXP, March 1, 2017.

Federal Debt Service Payments as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

A combination of low interest rates and a strong economy means the US is spending a typical amount of the entire US economy on federal debt servicing. In 1970s and 1980s, with inflation, a weak economy, and heavy deficit spending, the federal government was spending a much greater portion of the gross domestic product on debt service.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Federal Outlays: Interest as Percent of Gross Domestic Product [FYOIGDA188S], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYOIGDA188S, February 28, 2017.