Wall Street Journal used fuzzy math against KerryJune 17, 2004 10:01 AM EDT ››› GABE WILDAU
A June 14 Wall Street Journal editorial accused Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign of using misleading economic data when the campaign argued that, even as job growth has accelerated in the last three months, the current economic recovery has failed to produce well-paying jobs comparable to those lost during the recent economic downturn. But the Journal itself relied on misleading figures in making its argument.
The editorial cited a "7.7% hike in ... average weekly earnings over the last three years," which, because it is not adjusted for inflation, does not accurately reflect trends in living standards.
The Consumer Price Index rose 6.4 percent from May 2001 to May 2004 ("the last three years"), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, even accepting the Journal's 7.7 percent nominal (as opposed to real) wage-hike figure as accurate, wages outpaced inflation during that time period by just 1.3 percentage points -- about 0.43 percentage points per year.