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You are here News Editorials Alex Baer: Playing with Dynamite, Tossing Numbers Around Like Grenades

Alex Baer: Playing with Dynamite, Tossing Numbers Around Like Grenades

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DynamiteThe numbers are up:  We now have 50 million people in our country who are poor -- while online sales on Black Friday busted one billion bucks for the first time.

The increased stats on the poor stem from a new census measure that considers medical costs and work-related expenses. The new formula also means there are more people now living below the poverty line than in 2010 -- about 16% of the population.

Interestingly, online sales from November 1st this year are also up 16%  -- from the same period last year -- while the number of Americans visiting online shops this Black Friday was 57.3 million, an increase of 18%.  Cyber Monday sales were expected to push past 1.5 billion dollars.

Now, what do you suppose anyone will make of those two radically different sets of numbers, slammed together and asked to play nicely together?

Well, one view will no doubt say more and more Americans are simply failing to pull on their bootstraps, or silver spoons, and connections in commerce and in Congress.  An alternate view will unsurprisingly hold forth that greed and gluttony continue to hold considerably more sway over fairness or equitable workings.

Neither of these views is new.  The numbers themselves aren't either -- just more increases, and more all the time.  Pretty old hat, the two sets of stats running in opposite directions on the charts, rocketing away from one another, fast.

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