Sunday, December 16, 2007
"Report Says That the Rich Are Getting Richer Faster, Much Faster" When I read that NYT headline I thought the accompanying piece was going to document that the rich are not only getting richer, but they are getting richer faster than before. It wouldn't be surprising--sure seems that way to me. But there's nothing in David Cay Johnston's trademark semi-penetrable reporting that compares the increase in riches at the top in the most recent period against the increase in prior periods (except a GOP claim that the increase for 1992-1997 was the same as the increase from 2000-2005, which would seem to make the opposite point). ... In short, Johnston's actual story showed inequality increasing, but not accelerating. Clearly the rich had a very good 2005, though,and it's hard to believe 2006 will be worse. ... P.S.: Here are the CBO's year-to-year data since 1979 (see esp. Table 1C). Incomes at the top took a big hit between 2000 and 2001, and they had big increases the past two years. I leave it to the more graph-oriented to extract the trend Johnston failed to extract. ... Update: See,e.g., Jared Bernstein's effort. (he finds a greater increase in income inequality from 2003-2005 "than over any other two year period" since 1979.) ... But Luskin notes that the 90s saw a sustained increase in the income share of the top 1% ("to 20.8% of total income in 2000, from 14% in 1990"). It's not clear the 2000s will see the same sort of increase. So far, no. (After the "bad" years in the early part of the decade, the top 1% are now up to 21.2%, he says.) ...
**--not just faster than the poor, which is, as they say, old news.
Note to David Cay Johnston: All emails on the record! ... 11:54 P.M.
Idle Minds Will Work for Free: First Kushell strike video, OK. Second Kushell strike video, excellent. ... P.S.: But what's Kevin Drum got to do with it? (I was paying close attention to the credits.) ... P.P.S.: The video is funnier than most TV comedies. It reportedly got 400,000 hits--more than many cable shows. It was put up on the Web by unpaid performers seemingly just for the hell of it (and maybe the exposure). Doesn't that sort of make Marc Andreesen and Rob Long's point about the tenuous positon of both Hollywood and the Writers Guild? ... It's as if the Linotype operators went on strike and decided to publish their story in four color offset!...10:36 P.M.
I'm discounting all reports of a McCain surge that look like they might well come from Mike Murphy, the shrewd political observer who ran McCain's 2000 campaign and obviously likes his former client. That includes this report--and maybe this one too. On the other hand, Mark Steyn also blogs of a "detectable" McCain surge in N.H.. ... 11:10 A.M.