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August 30, 2006



As more people have enough income and desire to invest, I expect more will have investment income. Is this a bad thing? Is only money earned by the sweat of one's brow significant? Hmm, poor Pinch.


I've always been curious about something in the statistic -- doesn't most of this data come from tax filings?

So, imagine that the Smith family has one breadwinner, who makes $4000 per month. Little Johnny Smith has crooked teeth, and the Smiths are paying the orthdontist $180/month to fix his teeth. They are using a flexible spending account for this.

Before orthodontia:
gross pay: $4000
taxes: $1000
check: $3000

During orthodontia:
gross pay: $3820
taxes: $955
checks: $2865 + $180 = $3045

So, according to the way these statisticians calculate things, did the Smith family income go down from $4000 to $3820 (because the IRS doesn't "see" the flex account money as "income") or does it go up by the $45 -- the difference between the $3045 and $3000 net pay?

This is a classic mechanism in social-program demogoguery. The demogogues produce all these statistics about poor people's incomes, and create political will to create programs to help them -- food stamps, rent subsidies, day-dare subsidies, free school lunches and breakfasts, etc., etc. Then they come back later and produce more statistics on poor people's incomes but they don't count the value of any of these non-cash programs.

It's really stupid and counterproductive that they pull this crap -- you create political will by making people feel guilty, but then you keep flogging the guilt card. Until eventually people get the message -- they are doing all these things and spending all of this money and it's not doing any good. So let's get rid of the programs and spend the money on monuments to Bob "KKKleagle" Byrd instead...

Chuck Simmins

I'm on my third year of blogging my analysis of this report. This year's highlights include a record high ratio for parity between wages for men and women. The 2005 overall poverty rate of 12.6% is higher than the rates for all the years from 1980 through 1998. The poverty rate for blacks in 2005 of 24.7% is lower than the rates in the period from 1959 through 1998. The Hispanic poverty rate for 2005 of 21.8% is lower than the rates from 1980 through 1999.

Average Poverty Rate - First Five Years of an Administration:
Reagan: 14.5%
Clinton: 14.1%
Bush 43: 12.3%


Foo Bar

the normal approximation to the normal distribution

I'm sure what you meant to write here was "the normal approximation to the binomial distribution".

Leaving that aside, I am happy to report that I arrive at the same answer. Well done, sir!


Isn't the binomial distribution the normal approximation of the normal distribution?

(Oooo... Statistics jokes. Two statisticians go hunting. They see a gorgeous huge buck. The first statistician fires 5 feet in front of the deer while the second fires 5 feet behind it. The turn, exuberantly give each other high fives, and say, "Got him!!!")

Tom Maguire

I'm sure what you meant to write here was "the normal approximation to the binomial distribution".

Yikes! Well, I am comfortable with an analysis based on "original intent" in this context. Thanks.

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