Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Attention underpaid history professors

Or others in a similar situation. If you were at a graduate school in the USA between 1996 and 2005, and were over 25 in 1996 and have been filing US income tax returns every year, and made e.g. under $15,326 (in 2005 dollars) in one year in grad school and made $52,000 a year in 2005: you're being cited by the Wall Street Journal (subs req'd, alt. free link) as an example of upward income mobility in the USA, since you've jumped three quintiles in the income distribution.

The underlying source is a US Treasury Department study. The Journal also exults in evidence that there's a lot of volatility at the top end of the income distribution, with lots of people being super-rich in terms of income for one year only. That's a strange argument for them to make, since if being rich is just a matter of one lucky year, what's so wrong with taxing the rich more than everybody else?

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