If you’ve got liberal friends and logged into Facebook lately, chances are pretty good that you’ve seen this chart.
The most recent chart from the Economic Policy Institute shows a ratio of 185 to 1 for 2009. According to the group’s calculations, the peak since the mid 1960s was almost 299 to 1. But it was never as high as high as 475 to 1.
Meanwhile, the most recent ratio from the Institute for Policy Studies is also smaller — for 2010, it was 325 to 1. In previous years the ratio on two occasions has exceeded 475 to 1 — to be specific, 516 to 1 in 1999 and 525 to 1 in 2000.
This is a textbook example of how claims can spiral out of control on the Internet. Just as conservatives have circulated unfounded claims about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, liberals are spreading this questionable chart.