We interrupt this program for a special bulletin

David “The Lion’s Share” Frum, taking a break from writing his upcoming book An End to Sadly, No!: How to Win the War on Amber Pawlik, writes the management to say that our work (click here or see below) is “carelessly embarrassing.”

Why? Let’s take a look, ok?

  • I did not “insult” Brad DeLong. In fact I praised his forthcoming book. I just wish he had a better temper.
  • In his National Review post, Frum wrote:

    all in all, a very smart guy, even if he has been driven into the intellectual’s version of Tourette’s syndrome by President Bush.

    Compliment or an insult? We quote, you decide.

    Frum continues:

  • As for the statistic that you dispute, again if you read carefully, you’ll see I cited Canadian household incomes [Frum actually cited cash income only -S,N!,] not family incomes. They’re different: households include people living alone. [Editor’s note: Adam Yoshida doesn’t count, because although he is alone he lives in his mother’s basement.]
  • In his post and email, Frum doesn’t tell us what report from the Fraser Institute he was using, so we’re left to our own devices. Looking at the reports we quoted earlier [Table 6.8, page 76,] we see that:

    The average income for families and unattached individuals was C$58,782, with a tax bill of C$27,460.

  • The average income for families with two or more individuals was C$73,718, with a tax bill of C$35,808.
  • The average income for families of four (2+2) was C$84,318 with a total tax bill of C$39,475.
  • What we see is that whether your standard of living improved (using Frum’s new criteria) very much depended on your situation. Families with two or more individuals and families of four did not see the dramatic increase in their tax bill Frum predicted would send the Liberals to their defeat. [Our earlier post showed that the average Canadian family saw an increase of slightly more than C$5,000 in their tax bill from 1993 to 2003.]

    What we also see here is that the Fraser Institute seems a bit fuzzy itself about what constitutes an average household, family, or whatever. It writes here:

    In 2003, the average Canadian family earned an income of $58,782 and paid total taxes equaling $27,640. [Emphasis added]

    Frum says these numbers are for “the average household.” The Fraser Institute writes [here] they are for “families and unattached individuals.” Yet above they say it’s for “the average Canadian family.” We’re out of order Mr. Frum? No, you’re out of order.

  • As for Fraser’s final 100K+ number for “average family income,” that refers to Canadian families of 4: a different group yet again[!].
  • Yes Mr. Frum they are a different group. So let’s take a look at the relevant group: In 2003, average total income for families and unattached individuals was C$90,458. What was it in 1995? We don’t know, but we think Frum should tell us. As long as we’re going to use total taxes paid, let’s use total income, deal?

  • All these figures are in Canadian dollars; I did no currency conversions, as you carelessly assumed.
  • It can’t be easy being David Frum: While he’s got us there, his argument remains full of holes (i.e. the tax burden did not increase dramatically as he suggests for all taxpayers.) Besides, Frum corrected a point DeLong didn’t make in order to avoid having to correct his own (amateurish and entirely obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of economic statistics) mistake. We recognize and admit ours. See any difference?

    Frum concludes with:

    You might want to consider correcting your embarrassingly careless work.

    You know what Mr. Frum? If we had called 1/8th of something “the lion’s share” we’d pretty careful calling other people’s work careless. Pretty. Damn. Careful.

    There was one thing in Frum’s email that made us very, very mad however:

    Dear Ms Pawlik:

    Dear Mr. Frum — if you’re going to write to Amber Pawlik, you sure as hell better call her Miss.


    Comments: 4


    I think I’ll just miss her call…


    Wow Seb you hit paydirt with this thing. I seriously doubt that Ms Crittenden will ever bake you cookies now.

    While you had the icepick to his nutsack you should have asked him if he ever bothered to correct what you set him straight on here


    but im not bitching, hell you probably made some intern over at AEI cry with this gotcha, and im sure Frum is smashing an empty bottle of molson over his own head in embarassment. uh oh spaghetti-o!


    Hey, gotta give credit to Frum for having the stones to respond, although I wonder when he will realize the beating he is taking and turn tail and run.

    It is so fun to watch guys like him not only make stupid comments, come back with comments that are increasingly stupid, and cop an attitude about it to boot! I love it!


    Sadly, No! update; I am lazy, hear me roar

    Pursuant to this recent post of mine, Sadly, No! got an email response from David Frum and promptly informed me of the fact. Sadly, No! responded to Frum’s response. And on another note:And my opinion of the world being full of lazy people now has some…


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