NYT Op-Ed Economist Astonished That North Carolina Is 39th Richest State, 'Yet' 12th in 'Children Living in Poverty'

Whatever they're paying Teresa Ghilarducci, who is "the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz chair of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research," it's too much.

The bolded sentences seen after the jump which Ms. Ghilarducci included in a Friday New York Times op-ed (HT "Mungowitz" at the "Kids Prefer Cheese" blog via Megan McArdle) makes my contention an open and shut case (bolds are mine throughout this post):

How to Grade a State’s Finances

What is a good state? Judge it by tax rates? No, states with the lowest tax rates have among the lowest levels of economic development. (Yeah, like Texas? -- Ed.) Judge it by pension funding? No, pension design and governance matter more.

What about a basic criteria? (sic) Judge a state’s finances by its capacity to reduce child deprivation. According to Kids Count, New Hampshire has the lowest rate of child poverty, at 11 percent. Ranked worst is Mississippi, where a third of children are poor. But Mississippi is poor over all; it has the lowest median income in the nation. And New Hampshire is rich; its median income is the third highest. I get that. So the child poverty numbers may say more about income than about the management of the state budgets.

But let’s look at North Carolina. It is the 39th richest state, and yet it ranks 12th for the percentage of children living in poverty – only 11 states fare worse.

Uh, I hate to break it to you, Teresa, but if the Tar Heel State is the 12th worst for child poverty, it's ranks 39th among the 50 states. In other words, its wealth ranking is consistent with its child poverty ranking -- unless you believe, as Barack Obama once told us, that the U.S. has 57 states.

McArdle elaborated:

Theresa Ghilarducci seems to be a veritable fountain of strange metrics. I didn’t think much of her book because of that; as I recall, she spends a lot of time straining to avoid obvious calculations, in favor of exotic ones that purport to prove that we can and should spend oceans more money on social security. But this is incredibly weird, even by her standards.

I'd substitute "inane" and "ignorant" where McArdle has "strange" and "weird."

Mungowitz munched on a related morsel (link was in original):

I wanted to check to see where she got her PhD, because it had to be Berkeley.  Yup... Berkeley.

But of course.

Naturally, no one at the New York Times caught Ghilarducci's gaffe.

In "completely unrelated" news, Christina Romer, considered the architect of Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus plan, abandoned ship and went to Berkeley in September 2010. She wanted the Obama stimulus to be $1.8 trillion instead of the "puny" $800 billion-plus Obama went with.

Romer, along with Jared Bernstein and Peter Orszag, is responsible for giving us the infamous early 2009 stimulus prediction graph, which I have compared with actual and projected results below (2007-2013 portion charted by Steven Goddard at Real Science):


Ghilarducci and Romer should team teach Econ 101. It would be funnier than an Abbott & Costello routine.

As Instpundit's Glenn Reynolds often sardonically says: "The country is in the very best of hands."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Appointments Economy Budget Business Coverage Social Security Education Higher Education Media Bias Debate Labeling Poverty Online Media Blogs Major Newspapers New York Times Teresa Ghilarducci Megan McArdle