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Dueling Graphics

Wall Street Journal and others

The WSJ’s attempt to show that the rich are not really all that rich set off a series of dueling graphs.The graph was promptly redrawn by Mother Jones and redrawn once again by blogger Gregg Hilferding. This aptly demonstrates that the bins used for aggregating data into bars should have some basis in reality. Viz., defining anyone earning less than $100,000 as “poor” is certainly disingenuous. If the policy being debated affects all those earning more than $200,000, dividing that group into many small bins leads us away from the issue at hand. A graph with just three bins may indeed provide the most insight, but only if the bins were properly constructed.

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