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This Is Bad News?


That's a graph I created from the numbers that accompany this Washington Post article - As Income Gap Widens, Uncertainty Spreads.

The first thing you might notice is that the alleged "income gap" doesn't look like it exists. The numbers show that in 2003 59.1% of households make $35,000 or more versus 47.2% in 1967 (in inflation adjusted dollars). Now if there was in increase in the percentage of the first two strata there may be an arguement for an increased gap, but notice that those two demographics are shrinking. The middle demographic ($35K to $50K) is shirnking, but taking a macro view you would have to say that the shrinkage in that group is because more of those households are now in higher two strata ($50K+).

Anyway you slice it you'd have to work pretty hard to find the negatives in those numbers. Not to fear, the Washington Post is on the case. See how they make these numbers look ominous.


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Comments (8)

Kevin go a head and put as ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Kevin go a head and put as an update "Kevin Drum thinks they look horrible" and just wait for the link later. It will be there.

The post's complaint - and ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

The post's complaint - and sure to be Drum's, is that some people are succeeding.

You see, in a perfect world we would all earn the median... pure socialism.

Their whole graphic was crafted to show how many people earned close to the median -- as if that metric meant anything.

"Those in the middle are seeing thinning ranks" and if it is because many of those formerly in the middle are now making more money, that is bad news to the Post!

Amazing.

The WaPa is full of crap. T... (Below threshold)
Dan:

The WaPa is full of crap. That is precisely how you would expect those numbers to look. What I did not see referenced (granted, I could have missed it) is that since 1967 til now we have moved into a world with a much more significant global economy.

Yse, there are fewer lower paying jobs relative to the whole. In a global economy low and low middle income jobs are going to migrate to parts of the world where business can take advantage of a lower cost of living. It's unavoidable. The cause for concern - see Europe - would be a lack of growth in higher paying jobs. The current US economy is not based upon being a low cost labor provider to the rest of the world. Why in the hell would we want to be? We enjoy the highest standard of living anyway you measure it - in the world.

Yes, workers will be required to be better trained and more skilled. And tradespeople would do better to be skilled craftsman and small business owners. And yes, we may be seeing some lag among the work force. But nothing like Europe is seeing. And that is the alternative the liberals and the WaPo would have us pursue.

Liberals would prefer a lower standard for the masses (not the elites that govern btw) and Republicans acknowledge the new realities of a global economy and by and large enable companies, as well as individuals to exploit it.

Damn lies and statistics, that about sums up what they're doing with these numbers.

Where did the WaPo find the... (Below threshold)

Where did the WaPo find the article? Dan Rather? I looked at that graph and was immediately able to identify that the gap has been reduced, not worsened.

What program did you use to... (Below threshold)

What program did you use to make that graph, Kevin? Just curious...

Well, the MSM is on the job... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Well, the MSM is on the job tying in their articles to the Kerry talking points.

The graph was made in Micro... (Below threshold)

The graph was made in Microsoft Excel - nothing fancy.

So everyone is doing better... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

So everyone is doing better in 2k3 than in 67, but some aren't doing as MUCH better? It is hard to get depressed about such a statistic.

This just in:
"Almost HALF of all americans earn BELOW the median income!!!!"
Now THAT would be a funny headline :)




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