Suppose that some NRO nitwit wrote a story about how a worker making $22 an hour in 2005 was better off than a worker making $20 an hour in 2000. After all, his nominal wage had risen by 10%. But consumer prices have risen by 13%, so his real wage would have declined. Now if it turned out that his wage rate had increased by 17.5% to $23.50, then his real wage would have increased by 4%.
I was also curious about Brooks’s claim that: “The typical male worker with some college but no degree has seen his income rise from $34,000 in 2000 to about $40,000 today.” These numbers probably give most readers the impression that the real annual earnings of the typical man with some college but no degree rose about 18 percent between 2000 and 2005. A quick check at the Census web page shows median annual earnings for men 25 and over with “some college no degree” to be $35,463 in 2000, rising to $39,150 in 2005. But, both figures are in nominal terms. Adjusting the Census numbers above for inflation suggests that the earnings of the typical man with some college but no degree actually fell about 3 percent over the same period.
John wants to know where Mr. Brooks got his information. My bet? Mr. Brooks hasn’t a clue. So yes, fire Mr. Brooks and let’s have Paul Krugman write three op-eds a week – assuming Dr. Krugman has the time and doesn’t mind all the false accusations that he makes stuff up.