Lying Statistics and Hypocrisy

President Trump claims that his administration has turned things around, that the stock market is booming, unemployment is nearing at an all-time low, and that real estate values have recovered and are soaring in many metropolitan areas.

According to “standard” statistics, most of those claims are true. But, as always, there’s a bit more to the story.

One of the reasons Trump got elected is that the “forgotten” white middle class voted for him overwhelmingly. They did so for a very good reason. Since 2009, while the stock market and the earnings of the richest one percent of Americans have soared, the real incomes of middle class white Americans, adjusted for inflation, have actually declined 16% [at least according to the business section of The New York Times, while the earnings of middle class blacks dropped nearly 40%.

And, frankly, that understates the real loss of income, because modifications to the various measures of inflation, including the various iterations of the Consumer Price Index, understate the rate of inflation. That means that various forms of income linked to the CPI, such as Social Security, Medicaid, some private sector wages, etc., don’t keep up with inflation. Likewise, the measures of unemployment understate those who aren’t working because they don’t include the millions who quit looking.

Now that interest rates are beginning to increase, the costs of anything that’s financed are also climbing, such as housing and student loans. As for those soaring real estate values… in the areas where they’re soaring, they’re putting affordable housing for the middle class more and more out of reach, and in the areas where they’re still stagnant, people can’t sell houses, except at a loss, even if they want to move to where the jobs are.

What I find hypocritical about the situation is that Trump claims that he’s turned things around when the greatest beneficiaries of the “turnaround” aren’t the people who made the difference in the election, but the richest one percent. What’s even more ironic is that the Wall Street financiers who created the Great Recession of 2008 are among those beneficiaries, and interestingly enough, not a single one of them ever was indicted on securities fraud, while over eight million Americans lost their homes.

Now, Americans are free to vote for whomever they please, but it does strike me as odd that that they continue to support a president who’s fobbed them off with, on average for that income group, a few hundred dollars in tax cuts while he’s delivered million dollar tax reductions to billionaires and who have created virtually no new jobs for all of those semi-skilled white workers who voted for Trump. And what about all the farmers, who are losing money because of the retaliatory tariffs China placed on U.S. agricultural products?

But then again, as I’ve noted more than a few times, why would those people allow facts like that to get in the way of what they believe?

6 thoughts on “Lying Statistics and Hypocrisy”

  1. Wine Guy says:

    “Panem et circenses” – it was true then… it is true now.

    It comes from most people ‘just want things simple.’ The problem with simplicity is that it is often a synonym for brutal, at least where politics are concerned. Nuanced thought and actions these days are considered evasion or (worse) manipulation. Heaven forfend that some thinkers remain in this nation.

  2. Alan says:

    I’ve mentioned these sort of views to pro-Trump friends of mine and they insist that he’s making things better even when they can’t refute the facts. This sort of willful blindness to reality seems endemic in the human condition.

    Companies are doing their best to reduce payroll expenses and the working class is suffering for it. I tried to explain to a friend that any year you don’t get a raise that is at least as high as inflation you are in fact taking a pay cut and he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand the reality behind it. Too many companies feel that a cost of living adjustment is giving an employee a small raise when the simple fact is that if you make $20/hr and inflation is 2.5%, you need at least 50 cents just to keep up the same relative income level.

  3. Hannibal says:

    “why would those people allow facts like that to get in the way of what they believe?”

    Why indeed?

  4. John Prigent says:

    It all depends on which set of ‘facts’ you believe to actually be true facts.

    1. Wine Guy says:

      You might wish to explain your statement a bit more…

  5. James says:

    Mr. Modesitt, run for office… I’d vote for you…

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