GOVERNMENT: Out of Plumb

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that the cost of living index had risen another 0.5% in the month ending Sept. 15, it added a comforting note. The price of food, said BLS, went down 0.2%. But consumers, who have noticed no discernible drop in food prices, had reason to wonder: How accurate is the index? Last week, stocky, rumpled Ewan Clague, commissioner of Labor Statistics confessed that consumers have a point. The BLS index is out of plumb, and he has started to true it up.

Since the basis for computing the index was revised ten...