Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on January 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

We’re still working off of last week’s SOTU, which unsurprisingly turned into a cornucopia of OOTDs. CNS News catches this moment from the White House’s “enhanced livestream” of Barack Obama’s speech, in which the administration tried to emphasize Obama’s claims by adding charts and data on the screen.  That would have been impressive — had the data and charts actually corroborated Obama’s claims.  In one case, the display actually refuted one big basis for Obama’s class-warfare argument:

As Obama was speaking, the White House “Enhanced Livestream” showed a split screen. On the left was Obama. On the right was a chart. At the bottom, the chart was sourced as follows: “CBO, After Tax Income Adjusted for Inflation.”

The chart showed what it said was the “[p]ercentage change in income since 1979.” It featured a red line showing that the inflation-adjusted income of the “TOP 1%” increased by something more than 250 percent, and a blue line showing that the inflation-adjusted income of the “MIDDLE 60%” increased by about 40 percent.

Contrary to what Obama said in the speech at the very moment this chart appeared next to him on the White House Internet broadcast, the chart did not indicate that there was a group of American earners whose paychecks “weren’t” growing in the years after 1979—even when adjusted for inflation.

The actual Congressional Budget Office report that the White House graphic cited was published in October. It is titled, “Trends in the Distribution of Household Income between 1979 and 2007.”

The report traced the trend in American incomes over most of the three decades preceding Obama’s 2008 election. It did not show what has happened to American incomes since Obama became president.

According to the CBO report, Americans at all levels of the national income ladder saw their inflation-adjusted incomes rise from 1979 to 2007.

“For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale (the 21st through 80th percentiles), the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent,” said the report.

Yes, according to the report, those in the top 1 percent saw their inflated-adjusted incomes increase by 275 percent from 1979 to 2007.

But those in the 20 percent just below the top 1 percent saw their inflation-adjusted incomes increase by 65 percent.

And those in the lowest 20 percent saw their inflation-adjusted incomes increase by 18 percent.

So yes, all of the classes of income earners saw after-inflation gains, or real gains, in income.  The top earners grew the most, of course, but that’s because their growth came largely from risk-taking activities and not wages.  What’s missing in this analysis is the fact that the top 1% has not remained static during those four decades, but change constantly as risk-takers win and lose on their risk.  It’s that volatility that would normally discourage risk-taking — which is why we tax it at a lower rate so as to provide more incentive to take the risk and keep more of the reward if, and only if, the risk pays off.

Nice of Obama and the White House to make that clear, even if the President himself hasn’t quite figured it out.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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a cornucopia of OOTDs……

what a horn of plenty…/

ted c on January 30, 2012 at 8:07 AM

hot dang, i got first. been a few weeks…..

ted c on January 30, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Hail to the chief…

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2012 at 8:09 AM

More white noise.

50sGuy on January 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

As I watched this, couldn’t help but wonder who he was talking to.

TimBuk3 on January 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

I want him out so bad – I just wish I was more excited about our possible candidate to face him.

gophergirl on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

It is getting harder and harder in distinguishing between OOTDs and outright incompetence and/or criminal neglect.

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

More white noise.
50sGuy on January 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

White noise? Has to be some sort of racist crack. Racist.

Huckabye-Romney on January 30, 2012 at 8:13 AM

gophergirl on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

They all suck afaic…

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Don’t blame me about the charts
-dear leader

cmsinaz on January 30, 2012 at 8:16 AM

That’s a great point about the top 1% constantly changing. I’m sure the top 0.1% (Gates, Buffet, Ellison, what have you) is pretty static, but the rest come & go, as a result of their risk-taking. The leftards, with their union mindset — multi-year contracts, huge lifetime pensions, etc. — just can’t get their heads around the concept.

KS Rex on January 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM

As I watched this, couldn’t help but wonder who he was talking to.

TimBuk3 on January 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

I had the same feeling, then it hit me. The takers of society, not the givers. Us vs. Them. Entitled to other peoples money vs. the Tax Payers. Class Warfare at it’s finest, it’s all this poser does.

D-fusit on January 30, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Charts acted stupidly.

JimK on January 30, 2012 at 8:22 AM

“Look folks, I just read what they put on my teleprompters. If some of my people put some kind of funny graphs on computer screens that I don’t understand, well don’t blame me. They’re either rich folks, racists, or republicans. Or it’s Bush.”

CorporatePiggy on January 30, 2012 at 8:22 AM

I just muted my speakers…

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2012 at 8:24 AM

The interwebs acted stupidly.

Left Coast Right Mind on January 30, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Wow, would I love to see the LSM show what Bammy’s portion of that chart looks like.

As if.

VelvetElvis on January 30, 2012 at 8:34 AM

It is getting harder and harder in distinguishing between OOTDs and outright incompetence and/or criminal neglect.

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Stop trying. You’ll never find a distinguishable difference, because, there is no difference.

Flora Duh on January 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

If you’re gonna be a liar you might as well be a brazen liar. That’s what tin pot tyrants do.

Naturally Curly on January 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

God thing that chart cut off when it did. Might have been embarassing to show what’s happened in 2009 through 2011.

Could be a new form of “Hide the Decline.”

joated on January 30, 2012 at 8:41 AM

C’mon haters- math is hard, leave Earflaps alone! Math is facist, with it’s elitist “only one answer is right” oppression.

It’s also obviously racist, as it made the wizard of uhs look like such a tool during his reading of someone else’s words the other night.

Displaying a keen sense of innumeracy, to go along with a complete lack of economic understanding, a fundamental misunderstanding of our constitution, and a stunning ignorance of history. That’s-

winning the future, the soetero way!

GrassMudHorsey on January 30, 2012 at 8:41 AM

@joated:

“Could be a new form of ‘Hide the Decline.’ ”

Hah! well done.

GrassMudHorsey on January 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM

I read it! It must be true!

KOOLAID2 on January 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM

A little empathy and compassion please. Maybe when Obama looks at the chart, he sees something different.

Economic Chart Dysmorphia is a serious problem that needs understanding, not jeers.

Axe on January 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM

can we rename this thread to “daily meaningless facts spinned so that we all hate so much obama, that we will eat up any turd sandwich the GOP establishment pre selects for us”

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

“daily meaningless facts spinned so that we all hate so much obama, that we will eat up any turd sandwich the GOP establishment pre selects for us”

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

“DMFSSTWAHSMOTWWEUTSTGOPEPFU” just doesn’t look right.

Axe on January 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

@nathor:

No.

Mocking Pezzdent Earflaps McDowngrade is a fun hobby that costs very little.

Given the state of our democrat destroyed economy, it’s one of the few affordable pleasures many of us have left.

GrassMudHorsey on January 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Ed wrote:

That (side-bt-side charts with Obama’s speech) would have been impressive — had the data and charts actually corroborated Obama’s claims. In one case, the display actually refuted one big basis for Obama’s class-warfare argument

That is assuming people are actually paying attention. The chart in question ‘corroborated’ the left wing class warfare, upon casual glance.

The people who actually analyze such things are not their target audience anyway.

Sir Napsalot on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I wish the author would have allowed his readers the option of choosing the read the post without being forced to listen to Obama so early in the morning.
Now that the audio (mercifully short) is over, I can go back and read the entire piece.

Pecos on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

They’ll say he wasn’t lying! Can’t you see the lines aren’t equal?

tinkerthinker on January 30, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Soon Barry will end these speeches with a pause, a smirk, and then: “OK, which shell is the pea under”.

Yoop on January 30, 2012 at 9:14 AM

WTF?

elm on January 30, 2012 at 9:16 AM

@nathor:

No.

Mocking Pezzdent Earflaps McDowngrade is a fun hobby that costs very little.

Given the state of our democrat destroyed economy, it’s one of the few affordable pleasures many of us have left.

GrassMudHorsey on January 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

but i am tired of this “romney has the best chances to beat obama, so lets all vote for him” mantra. and some conservatives eat this manipulating reasoning! threads like this condition us to to hate the O beyond reason and we will take any turd as an alternative when in fact both Romney and Obama are turds of the same donklephant.

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM

What’s that joke about the kid digging through horse manure because there just has to be a pony there somewhere.
So many stats, you are bound to find a few that look good…the amount of rubber bands produced was increased by x% for the third straight quarter…along with a drop in prices of Barbie Dolls, it shows a resurgence of the economy…

right2bright on January 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM

We’re still working off of last week’s SOTU, which unsurprisingly turned into a cornucopia of OOTDs.

You’re such a kidder, Ed!

Pecos on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Estoy cien por ciento de acuerdo.

MisterElephant on January 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM

“DMFSSTWAHSMOTWWEUTSTGOPEPFU” just doesn’t look right.

Axe on January 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

hehe!
some popular positions are hard to spell, but you know there is some truth in them.

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM

This is typical Obumble. Set up a straw man with a lie and then knock him down. This guy is the Don Quixote of our time.

Jarhead68 on January 30, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I wish the author would have allowed his readers the option of choosing the read the post without being forced to listen to Obama so early in the morning.
Now that the audio (mercifully short) is over, I can go back and read the entire piece.

Pecos on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

maybe your dream will come true and you will have to hear romneys lies for 4 years instead of obama’s.

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

This is typical Obumble. Set up a straw man with a lie and then knock him down. This guy is the Don Quixote of our time.

Jarhead68 on January 30, 2012 at 9:23 AM

dont worry, romney will set up a straw man of the “bad parts of the obama care”, rail against them, and keep the “good parts”.

CHANGE!/

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

hehe!
some popularunpopular positions are hard to spell, but you know there is some truth in them.

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:28 AM

What’s missing in this analysis is the fact that the top 1% has not remained static during those four decades, but change constantly as risk-takers win and lose on their risk.

I have a friend who has been through this a number of times. He starts a niche business builds it up and then goes through it going under as a result of changing dynamics. He has been a millionare at least 4 times. When the business climate changes he finds a new way to produce wealth.

chemman on January 30, 2012 at 9:58 AM

gophergirl on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

You and me girl! It’s one of the things that makes me SO angry at the GOP. This coming election was hands down winnable until the GOP decided to offer milk toast for candidates. Now we are stuck with selecting the least of all evils.

As far as the SOTU – I am surprised anyone could stand to watch the liar-in-chief. To me, that would be severe torture.

katablog.com on January 30, 2012 at 10:02 AM

The people who actually analyze such things are not their target audience anyway.

Sir Napsalot on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

True dat! Their target is the 50% that don’t pay taxes, Occupy _____ and are waiting for someone else earn them a lifestyle to which they want to become accustom.

Does anyone see the Occupy movement and say “there go some more of my tax dollars”? Do they get that these malcontents are costing big money to a nation that’s already way down the debt hole?

katablog.com on January 30, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Axe on January 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

You make me laugh! (I mean that in a GOOD way…)

carpeliberty on January 30, 2012 at 10:09 AM

carpeliberty on January 30, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Thanks! And thanks for clarifying, too; that could have gone either way :)

Axe on January 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM

“I just think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”

Life was so much less complicated then.

de rigueur on January 30, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Obama’s speeches are from the ignorant who reads the TOTUS to the ignorant who swallow the feces he’s feeds them.

jqc1970 on January 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Hail to the chief…

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Hell WITH the chief!!!

Long haired country boy on January 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM

So in this fourth year of his lord 0bama, OOTDs = flat out lies.

jukin3 on January 30, 2012 at 12:07 PM

It is getting harder and harder in distinguishing between OOTDs and outright incompetence and/or criminal neglect.

Happy Nomad on January 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Stop trying. You’ll never find a distinguishable difference, because, there is no difference.

Flora Duh on January 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Outright incompetence and/or criminal neglect some time result in the correct policies being implemented.

Slowburn on January 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

can we rename this thread to “daily meaningless facts spinned so that we all hate so much obama, that we will eat up any turd sandwich the GOP establishment pre selects for us”

nathor on January 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Spun

Though, to be fair, you’re probably a product of modern public “education”. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Solaratov on January 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Even leaving out the side graph, there is something fundamentally incorrect about Obama’s remarks. It is meaningless to compare any income group over time and then draw conclusions. When Obama points to the “middle class” and asserts that they did or didn’t improve their lot since 1979, it’s totally meaningless, because you are not talking about the same people. This seems totally obvious to me, yet I never see it mentioned. Therefore, let me give a couple of examples to illustrate.
You could look at the bottom 1% by income in 1979, and again in 2011. Let’s say the income level is about the same. Could you possibly conclude that those in the bottom 1% in 1979 didn’t progress at all? Of course not–they are different people. Those from 1979 have been promoted to better jobs, and the new bottom group in 2011 includes new hires and those just entering the job market.
Similarly, when you look at the top 1% in 2011, you are seeing those who took huge risks and whose risks paid off. What about those who took huge risks that didn’t pay off. Well, they’re not in the top 1%; perhaps they were, but have fallen out of the group.
I’m sorry if this seems pedantic and obvious, but I rarely see this clarified. What would be meaningful would be to take the group of people in any particular income group in 1979, and follow THOSE PEOPLE over time.

cslater on January 30, 2012 at 2:56 PM