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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Income Gaps Hit Record Levels In 2006 — Does it matter?

There is always a show of income gaps whenever new economic data comes out. One major missing piece of data they NEVER include is “How many people who were in the really poor section of the data are still in the really poor section?”

These studies do not take into account the churn of social mobility. Many people and households that start out in the lower groups move quickly into the upper groups. Reading the typical report you would think that poor people are always poor and rich people are always rich and never the twain shall meet. The beauty of the American Dream is that it exists. I used to make a lot less money than I do now. I worked hard. Now I make more and I’m in a different group than I used to be.

You would also likely see a huge correlation in their graphs of the average age of the people within those sections. Younger people make less money. Surprise!

Now I’m not saying poor people don't exist. I’m saying that the same poor people from a few years ago are not necessarily the same poor of today. Some are and some aren't, but I don't think this data is accurate enough to get people marching in the street because of it.

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