He Said, She Said

HE SAID, SHE SAID….Brian Weatherson of Crooked Timber draws our attention to a genuinely hilarious example of journalistic “objectivity.” The subject is household income and whether it’s “miserable,” as John Kerry suggests or “improving” as George Bush suggests. Here’s how the story goes:

  • Kerry says middle class families are worse off and the rich are better off under George Bush.

  • George Bush says that’s not so: average income has gone up 5.9% in the past three years. Not bad!

  • Oops, wait a second. That’s “average” income. The right measure is “median” income, since the average is skewed upward by…..the rich being better off.

  • Median household income has decreased 3.3% since 2000.

  • But wait! If you take into account tax cuts and increased entitlement income, median household income has…..declined 0.6%.

Even flat income for three straight years is disastrous, of course, something the writer of the article seems not to understand. So no matter how you measure it, middle class families are worse off and the rich are better off under George Bush. Just like Kerry said.

It’s worth noting that the article is non-bylined. I can understand why.