7.2%According to the official datum of inflation ("it is no longer correct to call it a measurement, since it is not measured", as La Nación reads today), during 2008 the Consumer Price Index rose by 7.2%, the smallest rate in four years. The Basic Food Basket, which enters the calculation of the poverty line, rose by less than a half of a percentage point (less than 2 pesos). So last year was a bargain. How come we didn't notice?
One strongly feels that this is about it — it's just not possible to lie any more than this and still pretend to be in contact with reality. The government first denied there was inflation, then accused a vaguely defined ensemble of foes of fueling price increases, all the while letting the thuggish Secretary of Trade, Guillermo Moreno, mangle the figures produced by INDEC. Last year the mangling became unnecessary: you don't have to tweak the figures when you've intimidated all the figure-checking personnel into silence or replaced them by your own employees.
Although the real inflation rate, as measured by several independent sources, is about three times the one reported by INDEC, it doesn't really matter to anyone (except the holders of inflation-pegged bonds, for whom this represents a fraud for $5.5 billion). People in the streets have turned from anger to indifference. As in many other respects, this once promising-looking government has abandoned us. We know they're lying, they know we know, and we know they know we know. How they plan to stay on top for three more years like this is a mystery to me. We can only hope they will die with a whimper and not with a bang.