The boys that make the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, are cooking the books. We use the CPI to keep track of inflation, which is a measure of how prices are going up. If inflation’s negative, then it means prices overall are going down. Simple enough… so how do they cook the books if all they do is look at prices?
Well, they take $4500 off the price of every car in the USA because the “Cash for Clunkers” program was in effect. That’s a fudge of biblical proportions: now all the inflation-indexed payments will be slashed because if inflation goes negative, everything tied to inflation for monthly adjustments also take a walk on the negative side.
While I think deflation is on its way, this is just a way of the USG dodging its financial commitments. It has the power to do it and get away with it. It wouldn’t matter who runs the Congress or presidency: this is a bureaucratic thing, for which the only cure is stronger leadership.