Why poverty stayed flat over three decades of strong economic growth

Building on several in-progress campaigns to raise the minimum wage and expand unions, the Economic Policy Institute

yesterday showing how, since the early 1970s, huge gains in economic growth have not made any dent in the U.S. poverty rate. One takeaway:


This chart gets at the problem:

The report received favorable coverage around the

and even

,  which quoted the study's author:

This severely pissed-off


contributor Tim Worstall,

who took to the blog comments (as well as his



perch) to

. As with the

on Thomas Piketty's gigantic and important book about rising wealth inequality, Worstall's response to the EPI is suitably apoplectic, yet weak.

Using impressive

, Worstall asserts that poverty "pretty much doesn't exist in the US today," an argument which is considerably less compelling when one shifts one's eyes from said charts to the lives (and increasing numbers) of actual people begging on the median strip.


Counting and correcting all the mistakes a


columnist makes when imputing what he imagines is the true poverty rate would take most of the rest of my week and more pixels than you'd like to see. But he does have a point. EPI's work would be much more compelling if it acknowledged and adjusted itself for the transfer payments in-kind.

The larger point:


spluttering is the surest indication I've seen that the era of transparently bogus


explanations for the nation's increasing economic inequality is finally coming to an end—20 years after it should have, but whatever.

Now brace yourselves for some long-overdue news coverage of a raft of economic phenomena that have long been central to the lives of many working people—and as studiously ignored by most major media outlets. From the EPI report:

"Inappropriate classification" means you call your employee an "independent contractor." Taxi companies pioneered this scam in the 1970s but many others—especially including the tech industry—followed suit. Only lately are the

, and I hope the white collar victims will do so soon as well.

Wage theft? Oh yeah.

. It may even be happening to you. Unlike most states, Maryland


I'm eagerly looking forward to those liens and the stories behind them.