public-enemy.jpgIt’s funny. You rarely see someone completely invalidate a blog post within the actual blog post. I mean, who starts with reasons why statistics might be skewed or less meaningful, then go on to completely rely on them to make a quite forceful point?

Tom’s upset that the mainstream media isn’t jumping up and down about a discretionary income report by the Conference Board. There’s a reason they’re not. There’s also some hypocrisy in them thar hills!

Follow me.

The recent report apparently shows (even given all the reasons not to buy the data) that “More Americans Have Discretionary Income”. Sounds great, right? Right. But before we let those visions of iPods dance in our heads, let’s ask a simple question: Who are these “more Americans” that enjoy more spending cash? Any guesses?

The rich?…..OF COURSE!

Read closely and you find:

Nearly 78 percent of all discretionary income is held by households earning more than $100,000. Average discretionary income for this segment, $66,451, is 2.7 times the national average.

Say it with me: The rich get richer.

Notice Tom doesn’t mention this fact? OF COURSE not. He has an agenda and the full story doesn’t line up with it. How does someone claim to hold the MSM accountable when his agenda-driven blogging is much more suspect than even those he criticizes? Good question. So the headline would be that the affluent have more pocket change? I can’t imagine for the life of me why the evil MSM might ignore that one. Here’s a hint: We’ve already heard that one.

“While the percentage of households with discretionary income has risen over the past several years, purchasing power remains concentrated in the wallets of the affluent,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “More than three out of every four discretionary dollars flows to householders earning $100,000 or more. And their average discretionary income is more than 2.5 times above average. “

Hell, in 2005 the Conference Board even said as much in the title of the same report: “More Americans Have Discretionary Income But It Is Concentrated In The Most Affluent Families“. I guess they wanted to soften that a bit this year so they just made it: “More Americans Have Discretionary Income”. Tom doesn’t seem willing to hold them as accountable as he might the New York Times. You’d figure he’d be a sucker for games played with headlines.

But like a good Ginsu commercial, THERE’S MORE!

The top end of the affluent group (households with earnings of $200,000 and over) accounts for only 3 percent of total households and 5 percent of households with discretionary income. This group, however, has 38 percent of total discretionary income with an average of $173,613, more than seven times the national average.

Households with earnings of less than $50,000 represent nearly 60 percent of all households and 29 percent of households with discretionary income. However, they account for only 3 percent of aggregate discretionary income. Average discretionary income among this market is about $1,900.

So those making less than $50k a year have about $2k in spendable income…a great deal of which I’d bet goes to pay for stuff health insurance will not cover. How much did the same group have in 2005? $2,075. The poor get poorer.

What did Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board?s Consumer Research Center say of the data in ’05?

?Rising numbers of affluent households who control sizable amounts of discretionary income signal a favorable outlook for the luxury, travel and entertainment markets, as well as companies in the furnishings and housing sectors.?

Pardon me if I don’t do the trickle down dance!

(We won’t even go into how they define “discretionary” or “spendable” income)