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Shocking Financial news:
Old 08-17-2007, 11:46 AM   #1
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Shocking Financial news:

Food prices eat up cash -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY


"Asked about her view of the economy, she answered, "Terrible." Half the nation's families earn below the median family income of about $56,000."

Half! Shocking. Half.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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This is an absolute outrage. I intend to contact my representatives in Congress and demand action! We cannot allow this travesty to continue!

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Old 08-17-2007, 11:58 AM   #3
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"Half! Shocking. Half."

LMAO!!! Amazing what passes for news sometimes isn't it.
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:05 PM   #4
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Guess that one slipped past the fact checkers and the editors.

OOOOOH! Before I hit 'submit' on this I decided to Google the reporter who wrote that inane statement. Before that, I had visions of him as some pimply faced kid just out of school. Oh, how wrong I was.

Kevin Hall is a reporter specializing in ECONOMICS! He's not old, but definitely not a cub reporter prone to make stupid mistakes like "....half are below the median." He's done economy stories from around the world for years.

Maybe it's some kind of test - they deliberately put a really stupid statement in the paper to see if anyone would catch it.
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
Guess that one slipped past the fact checkers and the editors.

OOOOOH! Before I hit 'submit' on this I decided to Google the reporter who wrote that inane statement. Before that, I had visions of him as some pimply faced kid just out of school. Oh, how wrong I was.

Kevin Hall is a reporter specializing in ECONOMICS! He's not old, but definitely not a cub reporter prone to make stupid mistakes like "....half are below the median." He's done economy stories from around the world for years.

Maybe it's some kind of test - they deliberately put a really stupid statement in the paper to see if anyone would catch it.
'Course the really sad thing is that the reporter probably felt the need to explain just what median meant. And that he was probably right. Half right?
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:18 PM   #6
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'Course the really sad thing is that the reporter probably felt the need to explain just what median meant. And that he was probably right. Half right?
Having been on the prodding end of a few journalists in the past, I often like to poke back. I just sent this letter to the editors at the Times Union:
Dear Sirs,

At the end of Kevin G. Hall's story, "Food prices eat up cash", I noticed this curious sentence: "Half the nation's families earn below the median family income of about $56,000."

Since, by definition, median divides a group in half, was this just a stating of the obvious, or was it some kind of test to see if we were paying attention?


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Old 08-17-2007, 02:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Half! Shocking. Half.
This is tragic news. I was aware of 50%, but never thought that Half would be used in this context.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:25 PM   #8
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Just remember that in Lake Wobegon, all the children are above average so I am sure that all families there earn above median.
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Old 08-17-2007, 04:45 PM   #9
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To Quote the Pointy Haired Boss

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Food prices eat up cash -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY


"Asked about her view of the economy, she answered, "Terrible." Half the nation's families earn below the median family income of about $56,000."

Half! Shocking. Half.
"40% of sick days are taken on Mondays and Fridays."
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Old 08-17-2007, 05:38 PM   #10
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"40% of sick days are taken on Mondays and Fridays."
The other 60% of sick days are taken Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:44 PM   #11
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Reminds me of the time my wife and I were watching a movie, and she says, "I think that's so-and-so, but I'm not certain."

I reply, not really realizing what I was saying...

"Yeah, it's either her... *pause* or somebody else."

*thwaps forehead*
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:04 PM   #12
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Reminds me of a recent compensation presentation at work. After a discussion on salary ranges it was stated 'the goal is not to have everyone at the top quartile'. Hmm, really?

I don't blame the writer in this case though, I'm sure the redundancy was slipped in for the uninformed reader.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:39 AM   #13
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:28 PM   #14
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It's just wrong the way you guys are making fun. There is some really good news here.

Half the people make above the median!!!
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Hedge-Fund Guy Atones for His Subprime Bond Sins: Mark Gilbert
Old 08-18-2007, 09:47 PM   #15
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Hedge-Fund Guy Atones for His Subprime Bond Sins: Mark Gilbert

My daughter, who works for a VC, sent me this link. I loved it!!

Bloomberg.com: Opinion
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:53 PM   #16
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As the shocked student told his professor, "Well, I knew I wasn't in the top half of the class, but I had no idea I was in the bottom half."
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:28 PM   #17
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Everyone's making fun of it because median = half below and half above? I think the sentence sounds normal. It's factually accurate (assuming the data). How would you propose to fix it?

"Half the nation's families earn below the median family income of about $56,000."

You can't say "the nation's families..." because not everyone makes below that.

If you simply wrote, "Half the nation's families earn below the median family income", then yes, it would be silly. That's not what the author did. He wanted to state both the fact of what the median family income means and its value. If all he said was the median family income was $56,000, there'd be no relation to that numbers bearing on the individual family.

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.
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There's more to it than just the one sentence
Old 08-19-2007, 11:52 PM   #18
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There's more to it than just the one sentence

I can’t speak for all of the other posters, but I was just poking fun at what I thought was a poorly worded sentence. Maybe the author assumed that there were a lot of readers whose recollection of what median signifies would come back to them when they read that sentence. But why didn’t he also take into account all of the readers who slept through high school math and just write

Quote:
Half of all American families report annual income of less than $56,000, and 60% report incomes of less than $70,000.
It might seem like a huge kerfuffle over a mere piffle, but I think there is bigger bone to pick with this story than just the one sentence. The more I thought about the article the more I felt like it was crappy journalism built around a BLS press release and some halfass research.

Given the fact that Kevin Hall is a reporter specializing in economics I would have expected better. It read more like he pulled up the latest CPI report from the BLS and liberally tossed around some stats. Then, he followed it with one paragraph that listed all of the possible reasons why food has recently increased in price. He stopped off at the local grocery on the way home and got a quote from a woman living on a fixed income and he was done. Almost, because that last paragraph seems a little out of place and not well written. The more I read the last paragraph the more I wonder if he just tacked it on to meet a minimum number of words requirement for the article.

He really did the story a disservice and glossed over a lot of factors – or ignored them completely.

For example, the price of milk.

Quote:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its June inflation report that egg prices are 19.5 percent higher than they were in June 2006. Over the same period, according to the department's consumer price index, whole milk was up 13.3 percent…
So, milk prices were up, a lot, in June 2007 vs June 2006. But what did the prices look like before that?

The price was at a multi-year low in June 2006. In fact, in 2004 the National Milk Producers Federation acted on what they felt was 25 years of low prices (2002-2003 prices were the lowest since 1979) and started paying dairy farmers to “retire” cattle from their herds. A retired dairy cow is also known as a quarter-pounder with cheese (or in France, a Royale with cheese). The group paid farmers to slaughter 35,000 cows in 2004 and 52,000 more in 2005. I don’t have more recent figures, but their 2006 annual report indicates that the program continues and they even calculate how much the herd retirement program adds to the cost of milk. Plus, the NMPF pays farmers a subsidy for exporting dairy products overseas (I’m not sure why). In fact, the export assistance program removed more milk from the US markets than the first year of herd retirements.

This same organization, while paying their members to reduce the means of production in order to raise prices, was also hard at work demanding immigration “reform” so their members could continue to have access to lower paid illegal immigrant labor. Oh yeah, there were several paragraphs that I didn’t bother to decipher that boasted of their success in getting Congress to “simplify” pricing regulations to again boost the price that their members received for the milk they sell. Which seems prove wrong the statement blaming some of the price increase on "tougher immigration enforcement” – at least in the case of milk prices.

He doesn’t mention the increase in cheese consumption, or the fact that overall consumption of dairy products in 2006 (latest figures) was the highest it has been since 1987.

Nor does he mention how the pricing structure in the grocery stores tends to enhance price increases and negate price drops. Consumer Union did a study several years ago of the price of milk in California and found

Quote:
“…there is an ever-widening spread between the retail price of milk and the farm price due to the cumulative effect of years of continual increases by milk retailers whenever the farm price goes up even a penny, and limited decreases in the retail price when the farm price drops.”
It wasn't a great story, it wasn't researched very extensively, it was a puff piece overall and the last paragraph was crap.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:10 AM   #19
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It wasn't a great story, it wasn't researched very extensively, it was a puff piece overall and the last paragraph was crap.
The more I read about retirement, finances, & investing, the more I see that this is the norm rather than the exception...
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:48 AM   #20
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I don't understand what all the fuss is about.
No fuss. We're all impressed with sensationalist journalism the use of hard data to inform the public...
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