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Post Partisan
Posted at 06:16 PM ET, 06/08/2012

The plural of anecdote is not data, income-inequality edition

Gather ’round, everyone: There’s big news! The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto has proven that the American dream is still alive! All you Debbie Downers should just give up and go home.

From today’s edition of his (frequently funny) Best of the Web Today, two contrasting quotes:

Too Bad She's Not Going to Columbia
"When she was growing up, [Dawn] Loggins's parents were drug abusers who lived 'paycheck to paycheck.' Sometimes there was no power and she had to do her homework by candlelight. There were also days without food. She had been abandoned by them for periods of time before and stayed with her grandmother. . . . Loggins will be headed to Harvard this fall. 'If there is anybody at all who has a dream, then they can definitely make it happen,' she told WBTV. 'There are no excuses. It depends on you and no one else.' " — Shine From Yahoo!, June 7
"In his latest book, The Price of Inequality, Columbia Professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz examines the causes of income inequality and offers some remedies. In between, he reaches some startling conclusions, including that America is 'no longer the land of opportunity' and 'the "American dream" is a myth.' " — Yahoo! Finance, June 9

Congrats to Ms. Loggins. Really. And congrats to Mr. Taranto. Never mind that intergenerational mobility has declined for at least four decades. Never mind that the country hasn’t been this unequal since the 1920s. Never mind that the United States is now less intergenerationally mobile than Pakistan. Never mind that there are reams of data that can back up those facts and more.

After throwing this instance in with all the times that Journal editorial board members have said a heavy snowfall disproved global warming, I’m starting to sense a trend. If you too prefer lone news stories to decades of data, consider applying to the Journal’s editorial board.

By  |  06:16 PM ET, 06/08/2012

 
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