Are faulty statistics covering up growing problems for the average American consumer? Can consumers trust the US government’s inflation reports? From hedonic adjustment to substitution bias to seasonal adjustment, the Consumer Price Index (the CPI) includes numerous modifications to the underlying price data. Most consumers have probably never even heard of the CPI, much less taken time to consider how its calculated, but they have certainly seen prices go up during their lifetimes. How much they have gone up is the topic of our next conversation.
Enter Oren Cass, Executive Director of American Compass. Last year, Oren published a pivotal report detailing the problems with how we calculate and think about consumer inflation. He argues the CPI does not tell the real story about the rising costs of achieving the American Dream. He recommends we adopt a “Cost of Thriving” index as another important lens for understanding what is happening in the economy.
Join us at noon on February 24 for a discussion with Oren of maybe the single most important number for consumers. We will discuss problems with how inflation is calculated, the reasons consumers should be concerned about these flaws, and what they can do about it.
Oren Cass is the executive director of American Compass and author of The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America (2018). He is a contributing opinion writer for the Financial Times and his work also appears regularly in publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
From 2005 to 2015, Oren worked as a management consultant in Bain & Company’s Boston and Delhi offices. During this period, he also earned his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was elected vice president and treasurer of the Harvard Law Review and oversaw the journal’s budget and operations. While still in law school, Oren also became Domestic Policy Director for Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, editing and producing the campaign’s “jobs book” and developing its domestic policy strategy, proposals, and research. He joined the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow in 2015 and became a prolific scholar, publishing more than 15 reports for MI and editing its popular “Issues 2016” and “Issues 2020” series, testifying before seven congressional committees and speaking on dozens of college campuses. He founded American Compass at the start of 2020.