The Phaserl


Gold, the Misery Index, and Insanity

by Rambus, GoldSeek:

In 1980 Ronald Reagan spoke about the Misery Index. An economist had added the inflation rate to the unemployment rate, called it the Misery Index, and used it to indicate the social costs and economic difficulty for the middle class.

Today the Misery Index is much smaller than in 1980, thanks to … intelligent fiscal management, economically beneficial monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, and wise political policy from the White House. If you believe any of those, read no further.

Most people will agree that the Misery Index is much smaller today because the numbers have been gimmicked.

Does anyone believe a few percent for inflation or around 5% unemployment?   Massage (torture) the numbers and the Misery Index declines, incumbent politicians are re-elected, while far too many people remain out of work, earning practically nothing on their savings, and paying too much for food, clothing, drugs, medical care, college, transportation and so on.

What we need for this decade, instead of a Misery Index, is an Insanity Index based on measures than indicate how out of balance, crazy, unsustainable, and dangerous our current fiscal and monetary world has become.  Consider a few examples:

  • Wall Street bonuses (in excess of base pay) average around $150,000 per person per year. Obviously some receive significantly more than average.  Finance, trading, and “paper pushing” have become incredibly profitable.  Compare the average Wall Street bonus to the base annual wage for an E-5 U.S. military soldier.  See graph below.


  • The SNAP (food stamps) program has escalated from a cost of $15 billion in 1990 to about $74 billion in 2015. Measure the program costs in ounces of gold each year and then try to convince yourself that 60 million ounces of gold each year do not matter.  See graph below.  Gold is real and can’t be printed like most currencies.  The program would “eat up” all the gold in Fort Knox about every three years.  Insane!

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