NPR’s Economic Illiteracy (Part III)
In this post, here, we showed that National Public Radio is either lazy, or ignorant, or worse: not ignorant and therefore willfully dishonest, when it comes to “reporting” on economic issues.
In the above-linked post, I told how NPR had tried to tackle the subject of “wage garnishment,” the legal step that creditors sometimes take to extract money directly from a bank account, if a debtor is late with his payments. Needless to say, the thoroughly leftist, race-obsessed NPR “found” that wage garnishment happens disproportionately to minorities. Furthermore, NPR suggested that it was vile racism driving the alleged imbalance.
In the segment, they made the following howlingly obvious statement:
In this way, wage garnishment disproportionately affects lower-income people in America.
To which we responded:
It should be glaringly obvious, as mentioned above, that wage garnishment would disproportionately affect lower-income people. The top 0.01% of all income earners in America would face garnishment extremely rarely or never, while, say the top 10% experience it rarely, but not never.
The rate of garnishment would rise as you go down the income scale. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Nor would I be surprised to learn that, for example, 50% of all wage garnishment happens on the bottom 10% of income earners. Just a random number I threw out. It turns out that it’s surprisingly difficult to find a non-political source for wage garnishment demographic statistics.
Where NPR completely misled its listeners is in not investigating the correct sub-topic of wage garnishment:
There are many stories of ridiculous and wasteful spending among the rich, but a guy worth half-a-billion dollars can just toss away 100 million of so, and have plenty of cushion to remain hugely wealthy. However, a poor or middle-class person’s $1,000 ill-considered or impulse purchase can be financially back-breaking for him. He has just so much less room for error or misjudgment than the rich guy. A rational observer, therefore, should expect to see rates of wage garnishment falling most heavily in lower-income segments of the population, where there is little or no margin for error, or ability to absorb financial losses.
So, what is the correct part of wage garnishment to investigate?
Simple: Given that one would expect wage garnishment to appear in the poorer economic sectors much more often than in the wealthier, what are the actual rates? By economic classification, then by race within economic classification, then by age, sex, and the other demographics? And: Are these rates appropriate, given the spending/consumption habits of each of these segments of the populace?
If you find that wage garnishment rates are not appropriate, then you have to be able to tell everyone what is appropriate. And why. Furthermore, you have to be able to quantify accurately the spending/consumption habits of all those groups you’ve decided to study. Then you have to tell why, based on all that vital background data, you find that wage garnishment is being done unfairly.
If you don’t do all that necessary work in order to understand all of that, then any information you give on wage garnishment is meaningless. Worse, it does nothing more than mislead and misinform.
By the way, I’m perfectly ready and willing to give a fair hearing to a conclusion that wage garnishment is being done unjustly, or with racial or some other bias. But as a so-called “news” organization, National Public Radio has a responsibility to provide well-researched, relevant facts — which they did not do in their segment — if they are going to draw judgmental conclusions, which they did do.
So, with NPR’s segment on wage garnishment, did they demonstrate that they’re lazy, ignorant or willfully dishonest? Well, I know they’re willfully dishonest from having listened to them for decades now. I’m guessing they’re that way — at least in part — because they’re lazy and ignorant. Lazy, ignorant dishonesty is the defining characteristic of America’s political left wing.