Again, I’m not an economist. But Jared Bernstein is (at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), and O’Brien quotes him disputing the Federal Reserve studies:

To make his case, Pethokoukis cites a pair of studies from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis that “nobody took seriously at the time, and they shouldn’t do so now,” according to Bernstein. These papers purported to show that real median incomes had increased more than was commonly believed by employing an alternate, lower price index to calculate after-inflation incomes. Bernstein told me it was a classic case of “plugging things in to get the result you want.”


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.