Kevin Drum is in his own little world. A very, very stupid world.
Here he is attempting to defend his delusional Clinton defense yesterday. Look, vote for Clinton if you want to. But don’t lie with statistics to justify it.
All the scared old guys are panicking even though there’s no chance Bernie will win. Not only that, they are doing an intellectualized version of “These entitled millennials won’t pipe down and let those who know best tell them what’s good for them.”
But here’s how not to lie with statistics. As to Kevin Drum’s idiotic contention that
About 70 percent of college grads have debt under $30,000, and the default rate on college debt is about the same as it was 30 years ago.
That’s very convenient. Now here’s what’s really going on.
The average class of 2015 graduate with student-loan debt will have to pay back a little more than $35,000, according to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher at Edvisors, a group of websites about planning and paying for college. Even adjusted for inflation, that’s still more than twice the amount borrowers had to pay back two decades earlier.
Not only is average debt rising, but more students are taking out loans to finance secondary education. Almost 71% of bachelor’s degree recipients will graduate with a student loan, compared with less than half two decades ago and about 64% 10 years ago.
Which of course devastates the ability to do things previous generations took for granted, like being able to buy a starter house or to start a family.
Not to mention this. Oh wait, you pseudo-intellectual putz Drum, I just did. (Read that whole piece. It’s really good.)
In other words, even after the housing collapse, a home today costs approximately three times as much as a home in 1970 compared to the average wage that a person earns.
Any why is Drum talking only about college grads? More than 60% of the country has no degree of any kind. Oh wait, don’t tell me — it’s because it makes his deceitful argument look better.
But let’s take a gander at how life is for the other 60% — those unaccountable wretches Drum is willing to just discard because they don’t matter at all — to him, to Clinton, or to Drum’s sad sophistry.
The gap between those with a bachelor’s degree and those without is wide and (somewhat) increasing.
While — again — all the necessities of life like housing, health care and education rise in price far in excess of the headline inflation number. That’s a whole other post, but inflation in these is masked by huge deflation in electronics, clothes, food and cars over the same period. So you have to be smarter than people like Drum and actually examine what the inflation number is telling you.
Going back a little, I have no idea where Drum got his median household income number of $67,000, but it has never been that high in the US. Notice his number is sourceless but has a pretty Excel spreadsheet (probably from the Heritage Foundation or somewhere).
The real median income in the US is about $52,000. (Linking to Wikipedia, but verified at other places as well.)
And I make fun of Kevin Drum for being a moron (because he is), but he is a particular kind of moron with a high IQ and lots of education so that he believes — correctly in most cases — that he can hoodwink most people. Here’s another example, that of his linking to the Employment Cost Index to “prove” that “total compensation” hasn’t declined.
Well, “total compensation” and the ECI is complete bullshit for most people because it measures things that are (you guessed it) constantly over-inflating like health care premiums that your employer contributes for you. So, the average wage-earner does not see this in their paycheck and it does not help them or the economy in any way (it actually harms the economy as money is siphoned off [basically embezzled] to wasteful uses like health insurance corps).
In Drum’s and Mannion’s views, millennials should just pipe down, ignore the college debt and/or that they cannot afford to go to college at all, scorn the idea of ever buying a home or having decent healthcare so they can get to the really important task of making sure that the oldster’s Social Security payouts don’t fall and house prices don’t decline even a single percentage point.
Drum gives a master class in how to lie with statistics. And really this post could be 10,000 words longer where we really get deep into the numbers and refuting Drum’s duplicitousness and Mannion’s smarmy superciliousness. But I try to not write for more than 15 minutes or so and now I’ve hit my limit — of time as well as exasperation with people like Mannion and Drum.
And in case anyone was wondering, I am not a millennial, and I have a household income that firmly places me in the top 5% of the US. So Clinton would benefit me, and Bernie would not.
Doesn’t make me an oblivious, gormless and brainless statistics-mangling doofus, though.