Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bush Lied! (using statistics)

Not about all that Iraq stuff (well that too), I'm talking about his comments about real wages in the US. He claims real wages have risen 8%, its true but he is refering to the mean (ie average) rise in wages. However if we consider the median income wages have not risen at all.

So whats the difference. I'm guessing everyone out there (again the one or two of you reading this) understands average or mean. The definition of median is:

"Middle value" of a list. The smallest number such that at least half the numbers in the list are no greater than it. If the list has an odd number of entries, the median is the middle entry in the list after sorting the list into increasing order. If the list has an even number of entries, the median is equal to the sum of the two middle (after sorting) numbers divided by two. The median can be estimated from a histogram by finding the smallest number such that the area under the histogram to the left of that number is 50%"

So, basically, while the overall "pool" of income increased the number of people making less then a certain amount (in the 40k range I belive) did NOT DECREASE. When we consider both measures it implies that those that were doing well are doing better while there was little or no change in the income of the middle and lower class (though I would like to see the overall distribution of incomes).....so much for trickle down economics.

The scary part is if a significant percent of the economy is being driven by borrowing against home values, which have risen, while income for ost is not increasing we could be setting ourselves up for an economic clusterfuck down the road ....

just some thoughts...

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