August 29, 2007

Patrick Poole’s Must-Read on Megan Pappada and Todd Hoffman

Filed under: Economy,Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:34 pm

The SOB Alliance’s newest member, who in addition to running Central Ohioans Against Terrorism, is also a FrontPage.com writer, has penned the definitive piece on the PC Police/Ohio Democratic Party ouster of Megan Pappada.

I’m late to this one (unlike RAB), and there’s not much more to say. Nevertheless, there are a few overlooked items I will comment on tomorrow Friday.

A Convenient First Two-Paragraph Rewrite for David Cay Johnston’s August 21 New York Times Report on ‘Income Growth’

Now that it is only available behind the said-to-be-crumbling TimeSelect firewall, David Cay Johnston’s error-laden report on income growth is no longer visible to much of the outside world.

The abstract that remains is interesting, to say the least:

DISPLAYING ABSTRACT – Government data show that Americans earned smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000; average income was $55,238, nearly 1 percent less than $55,714 in 2000; total adjusted gross income was $7.43 trillion, up 3.1 percent in 2000 and 5.8 percent from 2004; Citizens for Tax Justice says policies favor rich, citing calculations that show 28 percent of investment tax cut savings went to those who made $10 million or more

As stated numerous times already, “what Americans earned” is quite often quite a bit more than what they report on their tax returns as adjusted gross income (which as also stated numerous times already, is really the IRS’s “Adjusted Gross Income Less Deficit”). The abstract leaves the impression that the $55,000-plus figures above represent gross pay. Of course, they don’t.

More basically, and as a public service for future researchers, yours truly has chosen to rewrite Mr. Johnston’s first two paragraphs to more accurately convey the reality of what the IRS data, imperfect as it is for this intended purpose, tell us, and to provide a helpful chart to support the revision:

(Johnston’s original)

Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.

While incomes have been on the rise since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, still nearly 1 percent less than the $55,714 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, analysis of new tax statistics show.

(BizzyBlog revision)

New tax statistics released by the Internal Revenue Service show that Americans had more money left after paying federal income taxes (FIT) in 2005 than in 2004. 2005 was also the first year in which the average US taxpayer had more money to pay other income taxes and to otherwise make ends meet than in 2000, the peak of the last economic expansion.

Those results were obtained by subtracting federal income taxes from what the IRS refers to as “Adjusted Gross Income Less Deficit.” After falling 7% on an inflation-adjusted basis during 2001 and 2002, the money the average US taxpayer had after FIT, but before paying Social Security and state and local income taxes, rose 10% during 2003-2005, reaching an all-time high in real terms:

NYTaltChart082907

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? Yes, the first two paragraphs are about 50 words longer than Johnston’s first two. But he could have eliminated 50 words of painful minutiae later in his report, and we wouldn’t have missed a thing.

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UPDATE: At least the abstract from the Times borders on being coherent. Here’s the ProQuest abstract (not available without library card access) of Johnston’s report:

The White House noted that during the same five years, income tax rates have been cut under a series of laws sponsored by President [Bush]. Mr. Bush has delivered a steady stream of upbeat assessments of the economy, saying last fall, for example, “I’m pleased with the economic progress we’re making.”

He said the tax savings at the top, combined with lower average incomes after five years, “shows that trickle down doesn’t work.”

Yikes. The abstract clearly indicates that “he” is President Bush (who else could “he” be?) saying something totally contradictory. The trouble is that “he” is really Robert S. McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice. Library archive researchers are clearly being poorly served.

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Previous posts:

  • August 28 — Updates: David Cay Johnston’s New York Times “Income Growth” Story
  • August 27 — In Case You Missed Yesterday’s Post on Last Week’s NYT Income Growth Article
  • August 26 — Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report
  • August 25 — Update: New David Cay Johnston Comment at Tuesday’s Post on His NYT Report
  • August 21 — New York Times Twists Data to Make Great Personal Income News Appear Awful
  • August 21 — Source Data Update Post

Positivity: A Family Celebrates the Life of a Kidney

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Ventura, County, California:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Denice Lombard is 53. Her kidney will turn 79 in October. That’s because, when Lombard was 13, her then-38-year-old dad saved her life by donating one of his kidneys.

“I’ve now had his kidney longer than he had it,” Denice said.

On Thursday, Lombard and her dad, Ted Lombard of Ventura, celebrate the 40th anniversary of the transplant that saved her life.

“That’s wonderful,” said Dr. Gabriel Danovitch, director of the kidney transplantation program at UCLA Medical Center. “At 40 years, that’s probably one of the longest-functioning (transplanted) kidneys in the country.”

Denice lives in Washington, D.C., now, so Ted will travel to the East Coast to be with his daughter and his other kidney for the anniversary.

Ted, who shares Denice’s blood type, donated his kidney to Denice in 1967 to save her from her twin’s fate. Denice’s twin, Diane, died in 1961 at age 7 from a congenital kidney disease that Denice also inherited.

“I don’t care how many people are around you,” said the twins’ mother, Anne Lombard, 73. “It’s still a lonely journey when you lose somebody you love.”

Ted and Anne still are brought to tears over the ordeal that led up to the organ donation that has so far given Denice 40 more quality years of life.

“By all means, I’d do it again,” Ted said, trying to steady his voice over tears. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.