How The New York Times And Washington Post Do "Poverty"

My post this past Sunday took note of a prominent Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that drove home some points that I have been making here for a few years about the measurement and incidence of “poverty” in the U.S. Most important is the systematic exclusion of some $1.2 trillion of government redistributions, $500 million of private charity, and as much as $2 trillion of underground economy from the incomes of lower income people when “poverty” is measured and reported. Since these three categories, in the aggregate, come to a large multiple of the amount that ought to be sufficient to eliminate all poverty under the government’s definition, I have long asserted that the government “poverty” data are systematically fraudulent, misleading, and useless for their intended purpose. . . .

Into this mix on September 12 the Census Bureau dropped its newly-released data on poverty for the year 2017. Admittedly that release does not itself contain the definitions and lists of exclusions that you need to understand how useless and deceptive this is. For that you’ll have to go on a hunt through the Census website; or, alternatively, read the Manhattan Contrarian or the Wall Street Journal op-eds, or maybe this big study from John Early for the Cato Institute. But again, if you are going to report on this subject, there is no excuse for not knowing this basic information.

So shall we take a look at how the New York Times and Washington Post reported on the Census release? In the New York Times, the big story by Glen Thrush, headlined “U.S. Recovery Eludes Many Living Below Poverty Level, Census Suggests,” appeared on September 13. The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Jared Bernstein on September 12 headlined “New census data show gains to low- and middle-income families but stalled progress on health coverage.” . . . .

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Something The President And Congress Should Pay Attention To: Student Loans

One of the very first government-created disasters that I wrote about on this blog was the student loan mess. The blog opened for business on November 6, 2012; and already on November 29, 2012 I had a post titled “Out Of Control Student Loans.” That post noted that, from a beginning in 1966, the federally-guaranteed student loan program had just reached a milestone of $1 trillion of student loan debt outstanding, with no signs of an end to the ongoing increase in outstanding balances. Also, at that time, the so-called “delinquency” rate for student loan borrowers had just suddenly soared from about 8.5% to 11% within less than a year. And, the post pointed out, the 11% delinquency rate was in fact quite deceptive, because very large numbers of borrowers — about half — are in some kind of deferral or forbearance status at any given moment, which leads them not to be counted as “delinquent,” even though they are out of school and not paying anything. That meant that if delinquencies had been measured as a percentage of borrowers expected to be paying, rather than as a percentage of all borrowers, the delinquency rate would have suddenly doubled to more like 22%. The post concluded: “Get ready to lose half or so of the trillion.”

Could things possibly have gotten even worse since then? Of course! After all, this is a pile of free federal money there for the taking. Who is going to pass it up? As long as nobody is really paying much attention, this problem will just continue to explode out of control. And really, what with the “civility” crisis, the Elizabeth Warren Cherokee scam, the Kavanaugh confirmation, the midterm elections, and whatever, who has time to pay attention to a mere trillion dollar problem?

Which is exactly why the problem continues to grow. . . .

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Nice To See That Somebody Is Paying Attention To The "Poverty" Scam

What with the Kavanaugh confirmation, the approaching mid-term elections, the “civility” controversy, the UN’s latest climate scare, and everything else, it’s hard to find time to pay attention to the trillion dollar plus government scams that fly on beneath the radar day after day. Like the “poverty” scam — the scam by which governments at all levels in the U.S. spend well over $1 trillion per year supposedly to combat poverty, and then put out statistics indicating that poverty once again remains at the same level, even as bureaucrats demand yet more hundreds of billions in “anti-poverty” funding, none of which will ever raise a single person out of poverty as measured.

Which is why I want to thank the Wall Street Journal for publishing an op-ed on Thursday by former Senator Phil Gramm and John Early headlined “Government Can’t Rescue the Poor.” Unfortunately the piece may be behind their pay wall. I’ll just have to give you some extended excerpts. . . .

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Manhattan Contrarian Quiz -- Climate Tipping Points Edition

On Monday the UN IPCC came out with its latest Special Report, this one supposedly addressed specifically to the allegedly dire consequences of allowing world temperatures to increase by more than an arbitrarily-selected threshold. Here is a copy of the “Summary for Policymakers,” and here is a copy of the accompanying press release. But I urge you not to peek at those until you have taken today’s very important Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz. . . .

So it’s time to take the Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz. The quiz consists of nine predictions of the impending climate “tipping point,” made at various points over the past few decades. For each prediction, I have deleted the name of the predictor, the year made and the year or years that were identified as the dreaded tipping point, but have included in brackets the number of years in the future that the tipping point was said to be at the time of the prediction in question. Your task is to identify which of the predictions is the one found in the current UN materials. For extra credit, see if you can identify any of the other predictions as to the person or organization uttering the prediction, the year made, and the year said to be the date of the tipping point.

Answers below the fold.

Prediction Number 1:

[Predictor] said that without "coherent financial incentives and disincentives" we have just 96 months to avert "irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it." . . . He confided last night: "We face the dual challenges of a world view and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis – including that of climate change – which threatens to engulf us all."

Prediction Number 2:

[U]nless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, [predictor] said.  He sees the situation as “a true planetary emergency.”  “If you accept the truth of that, then nothing else really matters that much,” [predictor] said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have to organize quickly to come up with a coherent and really strong response, and that’s what I’m devoting myself to.”

Prediction Number 3:

[Predictor] . . . told author Bob Reiss in [year of prediction] that New York City would be underwater in 20 years. "The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water," [predictor] said. "And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won't be there. The trees in the median strip will change."

Prediction Number 4:

The year: [46 years after prediction]. Massive dikes around New Orleans, Miami, and New York are holding back rising sea water. Phoenix is baking in its third straight week of temperatures above 115 degrees. Decades of drought have laid waste to the once-fertile Midwestern farm belt. Hurricanes batter the Gulf Coast, and forest fires continue to black thousands of acres across the country. Science fiction? Hardly. These are the sobering global warming or “greenhouse effect” scenarios that many scientists believe may happen if we continue to pollute our environment. . . . [N]othing short of an immediate worldwide effort by governments, corporations and especially individual citizens will be needed to reverse the environmental crisis that now threatens the entire planet.

Prediction Number 5:

In [year of prediction], [predictor] told [publication] that [4 years after prediction] was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. [Predictor] said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching [numeric] degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Prediction Number 6:

[W]arming of [numeric] deg C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said [predictor]. . . . [L]imiting global warming to [numeric]°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from [year] levels by [12 years from prediction], reaching ‘net zero’ around [32 years from prediction].

Prediction Number 7:

[Predictor] said in [year of prediction] that if “there’s no action before [5 years after prediction], that’s too late.” “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.

Prediction Number 8:

[Predictor] wrote in [publication] that within “as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”

Prediction Number 9:

[Publication] reported in [year] that [predictor] says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the [year].” . . .

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The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time -- Part XIX

The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time -- Part XIX

Don’t be too surprised that you’re not reading much recently about the impending climate apocalypse and the supposed “hottest year,” “hottest month,” or “hottest day” ever. The reason is that global lower troposphere temperatures, as measured by satellites and published by UAH, are down by more than 0.7 deg C since early 2016. That’s well more than half of what was thought to be the temperature increase since the satellite record began in 1979. September 2018 turned out to be the coolest September in ten years.

But inquiring minds are still eager to get to the bottom of the temperature adjustment scandal that has created a fake warming trend in the so-called “surface temperature” record that goes back into the mid-1800s. For those unfamiliar with this field, the “surface temperature” record comes from a totally different source from the satellite record, namely a network of conventional thermometers, each located a few feet above the ground, scattered around the world. The data from the surface thermometers is collected and published by three entities, two in the U.S. (NASA and NOAA) and one in England (the Hadley Center at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia). Those three use somewhat different but substantially overlapping surface thermometers to compile their records. All three show a noticeable warming trend in the range of 1.5 deg C since the late 19th century.

But is the warming trend real, or is all or most of it an artifact of temperature adjustments made to the record over time? Many have noticed that substantial downward adjustments have been made to raw temperatures recorded at many of the stations in the surface thermometer networks during the earlier part of the record, mainly from the mid-1800s through 1950s. This issue has been the principal focus of my series The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time. This is now Part XIX of that series. . . .

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This Time Socialism Will Work Because We Are Going To Do It Right

I know that this week everybody’s attention has been diverted to the Kavanaugh confirmation circus. Have we missed anything important? Before we all move on, I want to draw readers’ attention to one of the more preposterous items to appear in the New York Times this week (I know that’s a low bar). The article appeared on Monday (October 1) with the headline “Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life.” The sub-headline is “Some places lift children out of poverty. Others trap them there. Now cities are trying to do something about the difference.” The reporters are Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui.

What makes this article preposterous? It’s preposterous because it’s yet another exemplar from the genre of “this time we’re going to do socialism right and finally it’s going to work.” Of course, the word “socialism” itself is not used. But the subject of the article is publicly-subsidized housing for the poor — classic “to each according to his needs” redistributionism. We all know that this sure hasn’t worked so far.

Let’s start with some background so that you will understand where this article fits in. . . .

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