Reihan Salam is supposedly one of the smart, fair-dealing conservative intellectuals, which by definition means that any liberal who criticizes him for, say, pimping Paul Ryan’s fuck-the-poor plan, is being shrill. Still, one of Reihan’s howlers caught by Matt Bruenig tells us something about the soft bigotry of low expectations in the unfettered free market for intellectual conservatives:
Reihan Salam wrote a piece against using non-market incomes to reduce poverty. A critical part of the piece claims that this doesn’t reduce poverty under the official poverty metric because that metric only tracks earnings:
The official poverty measure is very useful because it tells us how much people are earning.
Anyone remotely competent knows this is not true. I pointed out its falsity at Demos:
No it doesn’t. The OPM counts as income all cash income from any source except tax credits. If you actually only track “earnings,” the poverty rate using the OPM poverty lines in 2012 would have been 60% higher (74 million impoverished instead of 46.5 million). This sentence is so misleadingly false that Slate should issue a correction. It is indisputably incorrect that this metric measures earnings.
Slate, surprisingly enough, did issue a correction. Matt’s whole Demos piece is worth a read.