I wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in December showing that the top 1 percent did not receive 16.1 percent of personal income in 2004, but just 10.6 percent. Two "liberal" blogs went predictably apoplectic, but in ways that had absolutely nothing to do with what I had written.
No economist who hopes to avoid professional ridicule would try to deny that consumption is a better measure of long-term living standards than the most widely cited income distribution figures, which do not even add transfer payments or subtract taxes.
The growth and distribution of income is a topic that generates strong opinions based on weak facts.
The cover of The Economist features "The Falling Dollar," with George Washington's jaw dropping.
The word "populist" is a strange choice -- an indefinable expression used by irrational hot-heads of all sorts. The last time the hard left made a serious effort to seize that old "populist" label was in 1972, when the late Jack Newfield and Jeff Greenfield (now with CNN) wrote "A Populist Manifesto."
"Here Come the Economic Populists," according to New York Times reporter Louis Uchitelle. Thanks for the warning, Lou.
The first significant article I ever published, in the summer of 1971, was about Milton Friedman. And he helped me to get it right.
Since most tax cuts expire in 2010 anyway, all the pro-tax Democrats need to do is to lay low, not show their hand and stall for time.
The British government released the "Stern Review" on global warming by Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist for the World Bank.
The newspapers are suddenly full of hypothetical plans to sextuple the federal gasoline tax, with well-timed insinuations that this might be a post-election Republican ploy.
"The closer we get to elections, the worse economic reporting becomes." To demonstrate how well that theory is working, we need only look at two samples of "news" from one newspaper on a single day, Oct. 15.
What all such beliefs have in common is technological provincialism -- the naive notion that global commerce can easily be compelled to dance to the tune of national or local politicians.
These must be trying times for those who have spent the past few months or years predicting economic disaster. Oil prices and interest rates have come way down, and stock prices have gone way up. And the election is only a month away.
My own free advice is less ambitious, about such mundane matters as advertising, warranties, styling and rapid response to reported product flaws.
Recent news provided yet another addition to Reynolds' Laws: "If the headline of any major newspaper or magazine article refers to 'inequality' or 'income gap,' you can safely assume the statistics in that story will be at least 65 percent untrue."
I propose this new addition to my growing list of Reynolds' Laws: "The closer we get to elections, the worse economic reporting becomes."
When President Bush recently used the phrase "Islamic fascists," there was much more critical attention paid to the first word than to the second. Yet the reference to fascism was more significant in many respects and arguably more appropriate.
The core consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.2 percent in July. The chain-weighted core CPI did not rise at all, following two months of 0.1 percent gains.
The Fed's critics make it sound as though the past three months have revealed an enormous spike in "core" inflation.
This year, Medicare began paying 68 percent of the cost of prescription drugs for seniors who sign up for Part D, or about $1,750 per enrollee by one estimate.
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