Businessweek: Were Americans Richer In 1983? We Just Don't Know by Peter Coy
There’s a chart flying around the blogosphere that seems to show that American families were wealthier in 1983 than in 2010, and the figures in it are attributed to me. I never made that claim, because I have no idea whether or not it’s accurate. What I can say is that American families were wealthier in 1989 than in 2010. There is no solid information for years before that, at least from the Federal Reserve.
The story of the chart that took on a life of its own gives some insight into how memes are created and circulated on the Internet. It started life at Reuters with a sensible disclaimer, but as it circulated those disclaimers have been sandpapered off. It has popped up on the Washington Post website, the PBS NewsHour’s Rundown blog, Brad DeLong’s tumblr feed, and probably some other places I haven’t seen yet.
Let me explain what happened. ...