By Dean Baker, Economic Policy Institute
Compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI is used to index Social Security payments and many other federal programs, as well as to adjust tax brackets. Today, the accuracy of the CPI is being hotly debated, particularly in light of the Boskin Commission report that concluded in December 1996 that the CPI overstates inflation by 1.1%. If accepted and applied in the formulation of economic policy, the report would have major implications for balancing the federal budget. It would have a direct impact on the lives of Americans who are beneficiaries of government programs as well as on everyone who pays taxes. In this book, Dean Baker introduces and explains the significance of the debate, presents the full text of the Boskin Commission report and finally discusses in a far-reaching and insightful analysis both the Commission's research methodology and its conclusions.