Thursday, November 14, 2019

Andrew Yang's Statistics(?)

Andrew Yang isn't going to win the Democratic presidential primary and probably not even be asked to be run as vice-president on the ticket. (Alas.) But he is doing a good job of pointing out the risks of automation.

But I can't follow some of his statistics. In an opinion piece in today's NY Times he wrote
Our economic numbers need to measure what matters. We know stock market prices don’t mean much to the 78 percent of workers in this country who are living paycheck to paycheck or the 40 percent of workers who are a $400 bill away from financial crisis.
But if 40% of workers are $400 away from a bill that will put them in a financial crisis, then 60% of workers aren't in that position -- they apparently have at least $400 in savings, so are not living paycheck to paycheck.

How then can 78% of workers be living paycheck to paycheck, if 60% of workers aren't?

Am I missing something?

PS: I sympathize greatly with anyone who can't afford the health care they need. This is just a technical question.


William M. Connolley said...

> the 40 percent of workers who are a $400 bill away from financial crisis

I'm pretty sure this is a misreading of a survey. There was some survey, people were asked, "what would you do if you had an unexpected bill of $400?" and x% said "borrow the money", which people have conflated with "x% don't even have $400". Pols, eh?

William M. Connolley said...

Ah yes:

David in Cal said...

BTW an increasing stock market has value for anyone who has a pension. Higher stock prices mean that pension plan is more solvent.


David Appell said...

Thanks WC.