Friday, September 01, 2006

Why, oh why can't Bad, Bad DeLong be a better economist?

Or, at least grow up. Cheap shot at Mickey Kaus Dept:

But what is the "good poverty news" in the Census Bureau's report? What is the "good poverty news" in this table?

Is it that there are more people in extreme poverty than in any year since 1993? Is it that the proportion of Americans in extreme poverty is greater than in any year since 1997? Is it that the extreme poverty rate is 0.9%--2,336,000 people--higher than in 2000, at the last business cycle peak?

....If you parse Kaus closely, he doesn't actually say that there is "good poverty news."

We regretfully have to point out to the distinguished economist that one only makes valid comparisons by using same points in the business cycle. And when we do, we find that Mickey Kaus could have easily pointed to 'good poverty news'.

Say, that four years after the 1990 recession ended (1994) the percentage of people living in 'extreme poverty' was 5.9%. And at the same point in the cycle (2005) it's only 5.4%.

Of course, as we've posted earlier, the poverty rate is a bogus construct anyway, since it moves in the wrong direction on good news.

We'd expect 'trained professionals' to know these things.

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