Friday, May 11, 2007

Warren Lost Does the Same Thing

I find this comment by Elizabeth Warren to be quite interesting. Third Way Lost:
"The numbers cited by 'progressive economists' are plain old Census numbers, not some flukey, small-sample study. What Third Way doesn't say in the press release is that they arrived at the new $70,000 number by cutting out all young earners and all old earners. Since those age groups tend to have lower incomes, income for the remaining subset increases. This is just a third-grade math trick: cut out those who make less money, and the median rises. Third Way might have added that if you cut out those who earn more money, the 'median' income is lower. Either way, cutting out wide swaths of the population doesn't change the fact that the family in the middle earns $45,000."

First of all, Warren cannot even keep her own numbers straight. The average middle-class family does not make $45,000 but $56,194. My source is here. Where is Warren's? Of course, if you scroll down my source, a family with the wife not in the workforce does make $44.457, but Warren does not specify that statistic, just families in general. Tsk, tsk Professor Warren, choosing lower income data instead of the more relevant figure.

But, this is old hat. See what I mean:
A fully-employed male today earns less (in inflation adjusted dollars) than his father earned back in 1972.
That is interesting. She is incorrect on two points. According to the Census Bureau here (page 45), a fully employed male made $41,258 in 1972. In 2005, he made $41,386. According to the math they taught at my school, $41,386 is not less than $41,258. Second, Warren continues to choose to include irrelevant populations (single males) instead of the more significant one (married males). After all, married males head most of the families that Warren is worried about. This appears to be Warren's third grade math trick: include irrelevant lower-waged workers to bring the median down. For this relevant population (married males), there median income has gone from $44,401 in 1975 (the first year the data was available) to $50,524 in 2005. Hardly stagnant.

Someday, I may have the time and inclination to dissect her expense data. That would complete the destruction of the the "Two-Income Trap" mythology.


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