ECONOMIC NEWS….I’m asking this completely without snark: Is there any reason at all for a reporter to write a paragraph like this?

Incomes also rose in November, by 0.4 percent, double the rate of increase in October, although that was more than offset by increased prices, the department reported. Discounting for inflation, disposable personal income — the money left to spend after taxes — fell 0.3 percent.

What possible excuse can there be for leaving the initial impression that incomes rose in November? Real income is the only income that matters, and real income was down. That’s the number that should get the attention.

And while we’re at it, that 1.1% increase in consumer spending that’s in the first paragraph of the story? Also not adjusted for inflation. The real number is 0.5%.

And the primary driver of that 0.5% increase in consumer spending? Since incomes were down I suppose you can guess the answer, but you have to plow through to the tenth paragraph before the Post actually tells you: “The increase in spending came because consumers either borrowed or dipped into savings. The department reported that personal savings declined by more than $48 billion in November.” Crikey.

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