Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two Different but Related Op-Eds

Two good op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal.  The first discusses the myth of the stagnant middle class. It notes a number of important issues, including adjusting wages for inflation understates real wages since the CPI overestimates inflation, the nonwage portion of compensation has increased sharply--especially medical benefits, increased life expectancy, and the abundance of new products not available in the past that are purchased by middle class households.   The authors could have added another element--the puzzle over why consumption data show the middle and poorer classes consuming more than would seem to be indicated by reported income.

The second concerns climate change. Bjorn Borg criticizes the way in which President Obama referred to climate change in his inauguration address. Borg notes that the evidence cited by the president is wrong. Borg fears that the poor rationale used will ultimately lead to poor policy recommendations.  Borg does not dispute climate change but has long argued for a different approach to looking for solutions.

Both topics provide further evidence that the misinformation on some key issues propogated in the media and by politicians remains a problem.

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