U.S Retail Depression Is 'Good News'

VANCOUVER, Canada ( Bullions Bull Canada) -- Perverse reporting of economic data by the media is nothing new. However, what is newsworthy is when that same media explicitly acknowledges such perversity. Such open manipulation of the news was on display today.

The context is the accelerating Depression in the U.S. retail sector which, as the propaganda machine itself regularly acknowledges, represents more than three-quarters of the total U.S. economy. In March, the revised numbers indicated U.S. retail sales plummeting by -0.5%.

However, that number is neither adjusted for inflation nor is it reported at an annualized rate as are most economic statistics. Let me perform those adjustments.

Currently, U.S. inflation is somewhere close to 20%. This is likely a conservative estimate, given that as recently as July of last year the World Bank was reporting that global food inflation was running at a current, annualized rate of 120%.

An annual inflation rate of nearly 20% works out to roughly 1.5%/month. When we subtract that number from the "raw" retail sales estimate of -0.5%, we get an actual collapse in U.S. retail sales of roughly -2% for the month of March. Convert that to an annualized rate (i.e. multiply it by 12) and what the U.S. government really reported last month was retail sales plummeting lower at an annualized rate of approximately 25%.

Let me repeat this. In the U.S.'s consumer economy, retail sales plummeted lower at a rate of 25% in the month of March. Doesn't sound like much of an "economic recovery" to me. But this brings us to the April figure for retail sales just released this morning.

Given that (almost) all U.S. economists continue to claim the U.S. economy is "growing"; clearly these economists must have been "expecting" retail sales to bounce-back in April with a strong number. Right? Wrong.

U.S. economists were "expecting" an even more-severe collapse in retail sales this month. This brings us to the "beating expectations" game played by the media. While this sham has been previously explained, Bloomberg was kind enough to explicitly do so today itself:

"...April's retail sales report is another example of a generally weak report that is better than expected, so it's perceived to be a positive," Jim Baird...at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, said in an email to clients." emphasis mine

And with that simple statement, the propaganda machine's "Beating Expectations" sham is completely unmasked. How do you make "bad news" sound like "good news"? You pretend that you were expecting terrible news.

Then, when merely bad news is announced, you dance a merry little jig, pull out the marching band and tell everyone that the bad news is really "good news." This is precisely what we see the cynical U.S. propagandists doing with the April retail sales report.

The economic experts claimed they were expecting U.S. retail sales to plummet lower in April by -0.6% (-27% annualized and roughly adjusted for real inflation). Instead, when a microscopic gain of 0.1% is actually reported it is proclaimed to be "good news." When adjusted for inflation and expressed as an annualized number, the April number actually reported translates into U.S. retail sales falling at a rate of roughly 18% -- still depression-like numbers.

Could any sane individual consider this to be good news?

But there is a larger issue here. On the one hand, we have this herd of economic experts parroting their opinion month after month that the U.S. economy is experiencing an "economic recovery" (i.e. it's actually growing).

On the other hand, out of the other side of their mouths, we have the same herd "predicting" an even bigger collapse in April retail sales following the disastrous number reported in March. Retail sales declining at a rate of 25% (or better) are Great Depression numbers.

Can any sane individual (even an economist) claim the U.S. consumer economy is growing while expecting a Great Depression in retail sales? Of course not.

The "Beating Expectations" game is merely another one of the reporting shams regularly practiced by the media. Note that Bloomberg itself admits that the Beating Expectations game is a regular form of fictionalized reporting:

"...another example of a generally weak report that is better than expected, so it's perceived to be a positive..."

Why is a "generally weak report...perceived to be a positive"? Because that's how they are reported by the media, accompanied by another rousing chorus of "Happy Days Are Here Again."

What is always ignored are the Great Depression-like "predictions" of the cadre of experts that make it possible for terrible numbers to still beat expectations. The absurd contradiction of expecting Depression while proclaiming "recovery" is conveniently and entirely overlooked.

Of course, by itself the retail sales numbers refute any possibility of the U.S. economy actually growing/recovering. Consumer economies can't grow when their retail sector is shrinking rapidly.

There is no shortage of such unequivocal indicators the U.S. economic recovery is a myth, many of which have been pointed out on previous occasions . Perhaps the most obvious proof of recession is the collapse in energy consumption by the world's great, energy glutton.

As recently as 2007 the U.S. oil industry was lamenting the lack of refining capacity within the U.S. to meet future domestic demand for petroleum products. Yet, by 2012, and with no new refineries brought on line, U.S. demand for petroleum products had collapsed to the point where the U.S. is now a "net-energy exporter."

To many, however, nothing illustrates a concept better than a picture. Here is further proof of the U.S. Greater Depression, which is now familiar to regular readers. This chart, produced by the Federal Reserve itself, shows the U.S. economy not only relentlessly losing jobs for the past 15 years, but those job losses have accelerated since the beginning of the supposed recovery.

Consumer economies can't grow while retail sales are plummeting. Equally, energy-intensive economies can't grow while energy consumption plummets. No economy of any kind can grow while shedding jobs at an accelerating rate.

We now have all the pieces of the puzzle in this economic myth of a U.S. recovery. Laughably fictional inflation statistics, which in turn are then used to warp the reporting of other statistics like GDP, retail sales and U.S. home prices. What happens to the U.S. "housing recovery" if you subtract actual inflation numbers from the "gains" in house prices? That's right: still in recession.

Meanwhile, to maintain the myth of recovery we have the media propaganda machine playing the "Beat Expectations" game month after month, to transform all of the bad news into good news. At the same time, any and all contradictions of this "recovery" -- contradictions in the numbers and by the experts themselves -- are totally ignored by the myopic media.

Bad news is not good news, irrespective of whether or not it "beats expectations." However, with the media now implicitly acknowledging the fraudulent nature of those expectations, this analytical point is even more relevant. Ignore mere expectations and focus on the actual news, if and when you can find it.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.