Sunday, April 19, 2009

The trouble with the data

Ezra Klein posts this from CBO and one can hear the appropriate class warfare background music.

But because the data cover a time span of significant immigration from poor countries, who seriously believes that the comparison has any meaning? The people in these two snapshots of quintiles taken more than a quarter century apart are not the same people. Take the lowest quintile, where were the people counted in 2006 twenty-seven years ago? If they were already born, many were in central America. Are they better off now? Offer them free passage home if they step forward to admit their stupid mistake?

Why not estimate their pre-immigration dollar income equivalents and use that in the comparison?