Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In the course of an article on the influence of wealth in politics, Bradford Plumer writes

Bruce Bartlett, a conservative columnist, [argues] "If my real income does not fall, how am I hurt when Bill Gates makes another billion dollars?"

On their face, these arguments sound reasonable enough, although one could interject with all sorts of complaints (among other things, median incomes in the United States have largely stagnated in the past few years, so Bartlett's hypothetical doesn't quite apply).
This seems to me to be misleading. Here is a chart of real US median household incomes:
Its certainly technically correct to say that household incomes have stagnated over the last few years. However, looking at the chart, this stagnation is quite typical of the pattern in the years following depressions. Overall, the trend seems to be consistently positive.


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