Friday, September 17, 2010

Lies and Statistics

Ticker observes that the "prosperity" trumpeted by BEA over the last 10 years is, simply, a lie.

The so-called "10.3% increase" in disposable personal income in "real terms" reported by the BEA was spread over 12% more people! That is, in per-capita terms the economy CONTRACTED over the last ten years.

Lotsa pretty charts and stuff to make his assertion much clearer.

3 comments:

steveegg said...

It all depends on the measure of population. Karl Denninger relies on working-age non-institutional population to come up with his 12% increase in population. That statistic is not part of the BEA's release.

The BEA does, however, include the total mid-year population estimate in their release, which shows a 8.9% population increase between 2000 and 2009. Over the past decade, that suggests an inflation-adjusted per-capita non-welfare income increase of 1.37%. If one puts it in yearly terms, it's a paltry 0.14%.

That still masks just how bad 2008 and especially 2009 have been. In 2000, the per-capita non-welfare income was $29,487 (in 2005 chained dollars). In 2002, it dipped to a decade-low $29,109, but by 2004, it recovered to $29,902. By 2007, it grew to $31,973. In 2008, it dropped a bit to $31,619, and in 2009, it fell off the proverbial cliff to $29,891.

Look for 2010 to be even worse.

steveegg said...

Addendum - going all the way back to 1929, the first year the BEA kept records, there have been only 5 years that saw an inflation-adjusted drop in per-capita non-welfare income than 2009's 5.46%:

1946 - -6.32%
1931 - -6.73%
1938 - -7.09%
1930 - -7.59%
1932 - -13.81%

Let's see; 4 Great Depression years and the transition between war and peace after World War II are the only years income has taken a bigger hit than in 2009.

Dad29 said...

Well, either way you cut it, the numbers are dismal.

For quite some time, I've maintained that "free cashflow" for middle-class Americans has diminished to a dangerous low. That accounts for the inability of people to stash the proverbial 6-months' savings.

I don't think this is entirely the result of over-spending (albeit that is a part of it.) I think it has to do with the cost-problems generated by regulation and taxes, the costs of which find their way into every good and service purchased by consumers--thus the lack of 'free cashflow.'

Ugh.