There are plenty of reasons to bash President Obama and even more to bash the richest 1 percent of the income distribution, but it is possible to go off track. The Post did so today in citing a study that shows the top 1 percent got 93 percent of the income gains from 2009-2010.
This is highly misleading because the vast majority of these income gains were capital gains due to the rebound of the stock market following its collapse in 2008-2009. Using this same measure of income, the top 1 percent suffered 49 percent of the income losses in the recession.
While it is reasonable to include capital gains in a measure of income growth over a long-term (this is money that people have at their disposal), the short-term fluctuations give a very misleading measure of distribution of income. President Bush was not a hero to the bottom 99 percent because the stock market crashed under his watch and President Obama is not a sop for the rich because it recovered while he was in office. (Now bailing out Wall Street is a different matter.)
At one point in discussing Mitt Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts, it tells readers:
"Average weekly wages for workers rose slightly more than they did nationally while Romney was in charge. In Massachusetts, wages went up 4.1 percent from 2002 to 2006, adjusting for inflation. Nationally, they rose 3.2 percent."
Inflation in the Northeast was 1.9 percentage points higher over this period than for the nation as a whole. If the calculation of real wages used for this comparison simply used the nationwide inflation rate to measure the growth of real wages, then it would be seriously misleading. The regional CPI would imply that wage growth in Massachusetts lagged the nationwide average by roughly a percentage point, instead of exceeding it by 0.9 percentage points. (Of course, Romney's ability to influence wage growth in a 4-year stint as governor would be very limited in any case.)
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