August 27, 2008

Census Bureau: Income Inequality Unchanged During Bush 43

Just in time for Barack Obama’s Greco-Roman Oration tomorrow night, two significant economic reports have gone or are about to go in a positive direction:

  • Earlier Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported that durable goods orders increased 1.3% during July, repeating June’s performance; shipments of durables were up 2.5%; and unfilled orders were at their highest level since 1992. There are exceptions, but these companies are generally very busy.
  • Thursday morning, the pundits are predicting that second quarter Gross Domestic Product, originally estimated at an annualized 1.9%, will be significantly revised upward. Predictions that GDP will come in at 2.7% are at Reuters, via CNN, and MarketWatch. If you go to the links, especially the second and third, you will detect the distinct aroma of sour grapes; the headlines found there are “The economic growth mirage” and “Big revision in GDP won’t mean much,” respectively.

Don’t count on these statistics to get much positive traditional media play while the Obama coronation is in progress.

But there’s one other number that’s even worse for the everyone’s-a-victim crowd than those just noted. It is one that I can almost guarantee will remain invisible during tomorrow’s festivities.

That number — .463 — comes from the Census Bureau, as noted at this WebWire release Tuesday (confirmed by reference to Page 7 of the 2007 version of “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States”; the PDF report is the first item listed under August 26 at this link):

Income Inequality
* Income inequality decreased between 2006 and 2007, as measured by shares of aggregate household income by quintiles and the Gini index. The share of aggregate income received by households in the top fifth of the income distribution declined, while the shares for the third and fourth quintiles increased. Meanwhile, the Gini index declined from 0.470 to 0.463, moving closer to 0, which represents perfect income equality (1 represents perfect inequality).

As shown at this 2005 BizzyBlog post, the Gini index, also referred as the Gini coefficient, was .462 at the end of the Clinton administration, after rising by .029 during the previous eight years, and .008 during the previous seven.


UPDATE, August 28, 12:15 p.m.: Commenter Tony B made a valid point which makes an update necessary. The Census Bureau says in a footnote at a different page in this year’s report (Page 9) that “Direct comparisons with years earlier than 1993 are not recommended because of substantial methodological changes in the 1994 ASEC.”

Although the Bureau’s recommendation may be debatable (the Forbes author I referred to in my 2005 post either wasn’t worried about this, or didn’t catch it), I have added the last six words you now see in the last sentence before this Update, and have changed what follows in the rest of this post to reflect info that relates only to 1993 and later. (The second-last paragraph formerly read “Income inequality increased by 29 times as much during Clinton’s eight years than it has during Bush’s first seven.”)


As Bush 43′s administration rounds the turn and heads for home, income inequality has barely budged by a statistically insignificant .001. To the extent that the rich have become richer, the poor, and everyone in between, have on the whole benefited in virtually equal proportion.

Income inequality increased by 8 times as much during Clinton’s final seven years than it has during Bush’s first seven.

Not that they won’t run with the class envy theme anyway, but it should be made known to all that the extent to which Barack Obama and his minions claim that the differences between the haves and have-nots has widened during the administration of George W. Bush is the extent to which they are not telling the truth.

Cross-posted at



  1. Regarding the Gini index, you may have missed this on page 9:

    “The earliest year available for comparable measures of income inequality is 1993.”

    “Direct comparisons with years earlier than 1993 are not recommended because of substantial methodological changes in the 1994 ASEC.”

    Comment by Tony B. — August 28, 2008 @ 9:01 am

  2. So income inequality increased from ’93 ’til Bush stopped Clinton’s transfers of wealth from poor to rich?

    Comment by Joe C. — August 28, 2008 @ 11:14 am

  3. #1, see the update in the midst of the post. Thanks for the tip.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 28, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

  4. [...] August 28, 12:15 p.m.: Commenter Tony B at BizzyBlog made a valid point which makes an update necessary. The Census Bureau says in a footnote at a [...]

    Pingback by UH-OH: Income Inequality Unchanged During George W Bush Tenure | Right Voices — September 2, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

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