Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's up

At 3:42 this [17 June] morning I wrote myself a note:
When you type CMDEBT in the search box at FRED, what comes up on the screen is a series called TCMILBSHNO.

Yeah, that'll be easy to remember.

By 6:47AM that distressing situation had passed, and searching for CMDEBT turned up a series named CMDEBT. And what a relief that was!

Anyway, I want to show you a graph of CMDEBT. Two lines on the graph. Don't compare the lines to each other. They're on two different scales. Just compare each line to itself, and visualize its trend.

What's up? CMDEBT thru 1975 (red, right scale) and thru 2012 (blue, left scale)
The red line goes up (till the end). The blue line goes up (till the end).

The red line is the same as the blue line, but the red one stops at 1975. To show it, I put a second copy of the blue line on the graph (FRED made it red), stopped the display of it at 1975, and put its values on the right-side scale. FRED did the rest.

The two lines show the same data. But the red one shows a close-up of the early years of the blue line. Because, on the blue line, the early years are squished down near zero. Hard to see what's going on there.

See that highest peak of the red line? If you look straight down from that peak to the blue line you can see the same peak there in blue, barely visible.

The red line shows an upward trend that's hard to see in the blue line. But it's there.


CMDEBT was always going up, even in the early years when the blue line looks flat.

What's that you say?

You were expecting a more substantial conclusion?

Pfff... That's not how it works. We look at little facts about the economy because they're fascinating, and because we know deep in our heart just how important they are. We spend time with them because we love to do that.

Substantial conclusions arise in their own time. You can't squeeze them out like ...

Never mind.

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