December 10, 2015

"NPR waits until the 12th paragraph to point out that 'we all have been getting wealthier.'"

Jaltcoh reads an NPR piece titled "The Tipping Point: Most Americans No Longer Are Middle Class."

34 comments:

Bay Area Guy said...

This is hysterical!

Parts of the middle class are moving up to the upper class -- and the Left shrieks, "the middle class is shrinking!"

It reminds me of the unemployment rate -- it's going down, Yes, but not because more people are working (higher numerator), but because the number of able-bodied folks (90 million) have left the job market (lower denominator)!

The Leftists in the country are liars. And, they have far too many enablers, like NPR.

Will Cate said...

CBS Evening News did a similarly slanted story on this last night.

LawGuy5000 said...

I have no problem with this editorial decision. The increase in real median income over a long period of time is expected and is not newsworthy, nor is it the point of the article (it has been rising, with a few dips, since 1940). The "news" here is that the middle class is shrinking, and the rate of increase of the real median income of the upper classes is far higher than the lower classes.

Now, you may believe the news should be spun differently (a rising tide raises all ships, we shouldn't value equality over GDP growth, etc.), but that is not the point of this article. Pointing out that real median incomes has been rising since 1970 in the first few paragraphs of this article would not improve the article or make it more honest.

Witness said...

Gotta have something to bitch about, or what's the point?

sean said...

If you start from 1970, we have all been getting richer. Median household income has fallen since 2007. NPR might mention that fact occasionally, e.g., when explaining why homicide rates are rising, but most of the time it would clash with the narrative of how Obama is the greatest president of our lifetimes.

Michael said...

Thank you for this and for his link to the wonderful impromptu speech by Thatcher, a woman reviled by the left even at her death.

Kevin said...


Used to love and support NPR/Minnesota Public Radio.

Until the Leftist slant to EVERYTHING got to be too much. When Garrison Keillor decided I should give a rodents posterior to his politics, added to the obvious Liberal bias of their "news" division... Color me gone.

Not another dime.

Drago said...

My biggest surprise?

That NPR even mentioned it at all.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If you go to the Pew study on which this story was based, they have a tool for determining if you are low, middle, or upper income in the U.S. However, the also have a separate tool for a global comparison.

In the global comparison, 3.4% of people in the United States are low income, 7.4% are middle income, 31.9% are upper-middle income, and 55.7% are high income. In other words, there is a high income majority in the U.S., by global standards.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the headline is a bit misleading - barely half of the people there are not in the middle class. We are talking a fraction of 1% difference between the middle class and everyone else. That isn't "most", but rather, a bare majority. And, part of it, sure, is that the rich are getting richer, but almost as many poor are getting poorer.

grimson said...

Among the 11% drop from the Middle, 4% went to Lower, but 7% went to Upper, which is fine with me. This echoes the point that American earnings have generally increased over this time.

What I question is how they defined Middle: Pew defined "middle class" as households that had at least two-thirds of the median income, but no more than double that amount. And it adjusted for household size. It seems like the middle class should be the middle 50-60% of all wage earners, regardless of how that that correlates to the median wage.

Anthony said...

Grimson - I once saw someone saying "There is a conspiracy in this country to keep one-third of our people ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill-housed. And that conspiracy has a name. Statisticians."

Because if you define "middle class" as the middle 60% of all wage earners, it will always be 60% of the population. Pew's method makes more sense, though I'm not sure I'd have made the cut points where Pew did.

tim in vermont said...

I don't know about you guys, but the electronics in my phone, a stereo that will play any album in the world, or pick music based on my tastes couldn't have been had for love nor any amount of money in 1975. A GPS with a complete set of maps for the whole world? Maybe the military had something that approached that. I can't even begin to cover everything.

You can't even compare cars.

Air travel was heavily regulated and only the rich could fly anywhere.

TVs got 12 channels.

So even if people have the same money, they are waaay richer because money buys stuff that was unimaginable. You know who didn't create all of this new wealth? Communists. They just copy stuff. But hey, we would all be equal.

Hagar said...

The rich are getting richer because they are bidding up the price of stocks, which is what they can do with their money, since there is little demand for it in the economy, i.e., it is an "unexpected" effect of the Obama adminstration's fiscal policies.

n.n said...

Perceptions precede reality.

Oh, well. What's a little debt, blood, and dysfunction between friends.

Hagar said...

And, as Instapundit says, what can't go on forever, won't, so these phantom riches will go poof when the inevitable crash finally arrives.

rehajm said...

Jaltcoh you and your mom correctly hash out that income looks like a bit of a cherry picked statistic.

Gahrie said...

Compared to historical norms, virtually all Americans are rich beyond measure. People living on foodstamps and welfare have a higher standard of living than kings used to have. We have the highest standard of living , for the most number of people, in history.

Hell, just our time for, and access to, leisure and entertainment is simply astounding.

One hopes that the improvement will continue, but that is by no means certain.

Birches said...

Good work, Jaltcoh.

Hagar said...

The last two financial crashes got underway in the final year of the Clinton and G.W. Bush presidencies, respectively.

Gahrie said...

OK..just for the record:

Human History goes back 5,500 years.
Civilization goes back about 6,000 years.
The current interglacial period (or global warming) began somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago.

So throughout all of human history, all of human civilization, global warming has been occurring.

Modern humans first appeared about 200,000 years ago.
The current ice age (that we are in an interglacial period of) began two and a half million years ago.

So all of human existence has occurred in an ice age.

Which 5,000 year period...hell what 50 year period of human existence would you prefer to live in?

Life has gotten infinitely better for humanity the warmer the Earth has gotten

wholelottasplainin' said...

"The increase in real median income over a long period of time is expected and is not newsworthy,..."

What inexorable economic force creates such an "expected" increase?

Oh yeah? was it "expected during the period 1930 to 1945? Is it "unexpected" that the real median income of the USSR stagnated for decades at a time?

Achilles said...

Hagar said...
"And, as Instapundit says, what can't go on forever, won't, so these phantom riches will go poof when the inevitable crash finally arrives."

We have printed 1 Trillion dollars a year, and borrowed 1 Trillion dollars a year during Obama's time in office. That is 12% of our GDP yearly. Economic growth has been <2%.

If you look at international markets this year they are grim:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-05/dozens-global-stock-markets-are-already-crashing-not-seen-numbers-these-2008

The next correction is imminent. The difference between Obama's fake money and economic growth will have to be dealt with one way or another. Math will always win in the end.

jaydub said...

Yeah, income inequality is so bad in the US that 49% of the world's top 1% of income earners, which for a single person is around $34,000 per year, reside in the US. All of Europe accounts for about half the numbers of 1%ers in the US. The global median income is $1225 per year, while the official US poverty rate recognized by the federal government is around $12,000 per year for a single person, or around ten times the mean income for the world. The bottom 5% of earners in the US earn the same amount per year as the richest 5% in India. I suppose that those are just three of the reasons why it's so urgent that the country and its economy be fundamentally transformed.

Robert Cook said...

"...the number of able-bodied folks (90 million) have left the job market (lower denominator)!"

Because they can't find jobs and have given up.

Robert Cook said...

"People living on foodstamps and welfare have a higher standard of living than kings used to have."

Hahaha! That's funny! You say that almost like it's true! Hahaha! Good one.

Robert Cook said...

Does the article discuss the rate of inflation over this same time? (Not that I saw.) Pointing simply to a rise in median incomes doesn't tell the whole story without checking that against the rise in prices.

According to this inflation calculator, it would take an income of $117,450.86 today to buy what $20,000.00 bought in 1971.

The story is a puff piece, not to be taken seriously.

Ann Althouse said...

"According to this inflation calculator, it would take an income of $117,450.86 today to buy what $20,000.00 bought in 1971."

Who made $20,000.00 in 1971? I started working after college in 1973 and I couldn't even get close to $10,000. My husband and I together, college graduates, maybe didn't even get to $15,000. I remember working all year, full time, with only 2 weeks vacation, for something like $6,500. A 5-figure salary was some kind of dream. And we lived in a big enough apartment in Manhattan, went out to dinner every week, and traveled to England for one 2-week summer vacation and to California on another. And we saved so much money we didn't particularly know what to do with it.

Ann Althouse said...

I guess I made the equivalent of $34,818.63 back then. Weird.

Ann Althouse said...

When I think of the work I did then, I don't think I deserved that much. I read magazines.

Ann Althouse said...

Sat around all day talking to people while reading magazines.

Gahrie said...

"People living on foodstamps and welfare have a higher standard of living than kings used to have."

Hahaha! That's funny! You say that almost like it's true! Hahaha! Good one.


It is true...by any objective standard.

They live longer.

They have better health, and better health care.

They have a better, and more varied diet.

They have access to much better entertainment.

They usually have better shelter, and indoor plumbing.

Robert Cook said...

"Who made $20,000.00 in 1971?"

High level business executives.

That's the point. Today, $20,000.00 is low income. If the Pew Survey is looking only at income rise, without comparing it to the rate of inflation, there's no accurate metric provided to conclude whether, in terms of buying power, the majority of us are richer or poorer than we were 40 years ago.

jaydub said...

"Does the article discuss the rate of inflation over this same time? (Not that I saw.) Pointing simply to a rise in median incomes doesn't tell the whole story without checking that against the rise in prices.

According to this inflation calculator, it would take an income of $117,450.86 today to buy what $20,000.00 bought in 1971.

The story is a puff piece, not to be taken seriously."

Uh, no, the article clearly states it was done in constant 2014 dollars. But, more to the point, the article was primarily about income distribution expressed as a percentage for a given year and then compared across years, i.e. the dollar measure used is redundant as regards the table cited. Nor are prices germane to a gross income analysis.