For John, BLUF: When someone shows you a graph you need to check the axes. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Over at The Daily Beast Columnist Megan McArdle talks about income statistics and errors in understanding them. Her column is titled "Department of Awful Statistics: Income Inequality Edition". In her column she is responding to a Mr Jon Evans, of Techcrunch. The chart used for the discussion can be found here.
"When I was growing up in Canada," says Jon Evans of Techcrunch, "I was taught that income distribution should and did look like a bell curve, with the middle class being the bulge in the middle. Oh, how naïve my teachers were. This is how income distribution looks in America today"Now, Ms McArdle has a number of what seem like typos to me, but the point is that the reason for the bump on the right side is that while most of the columns represent a $5,000 spread of income, the last two represent, first, ten times $5,000 ($200,000 to $249,999) and second an almost infinite times $5,000 (all the rest, out to, as Ms McArdle says, A-Rod's $27 million—is he worth that much?)
So, those right two columns should have been part of a very long tail that went well to the right of your computer, in my case, out to the driveway.
Lies, damn lies and statistics.Turns out a number of folks said that, including the Duke of Wellington and Mark Twain.
Hat tip to the Instapundit.
Regards — Cliff