Update: Nov. 6, 2011 on Nov. 3 post on David Cay Johnson's Non-reporting of Income shifts:
Checking into this a bit further, I find this: It gets more and more interesting:
In the midst of electoral chaos yesterday, I did not get around to noting a striking screw-up at the Social Security Administration — you know, the folks with which we’re supposed to entrust our retirements. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, a Bob Herbert column sent along by a friend, on rising income inequality and a new book on the subject by two political scientists:
The SSA data Johnston (and Herbert) rely on is completely bogus — the result of a massive error. Check it:
The Social Security Administration asked its inspector general to investigate how a $32.3 billion mistake skewed its statistics on 2009 wages in the U.S.
Two people were found to have filed multiple W-2 forms that made them into multibillionaires, an agency official said yesterday. Those reports threw statistical wage tables out of whack and, in figures released Oct. 15, made it appear that top U.S. earners had seen their pay quintuple in 2009 to an average of $519 million.
UPDATE: Mr. Johnston writes me:
Your final point about me in your post is dead wrong.
The Social Security Administration discovered its mistake BECAUSE my column in Tax Notes drew attention to the figures, which I accurately reported. Gosh, but for my accurate reporting this mistake would have stayed permanently in the record and forever given us a false impression of wage income in 2009!