Sunday, July 26, 2009

Disproportionate interest

This morning's Sunday Star-Times reveals the shock news that people don't trust the financial sector. Next they'll be "revealing" that the sky is blue. But the story included this little bit on the correlation of distrust with income:

There was also a correlation of lower trust with lower incomes sharebrokers, for example, were trusted not at all by 32% of respondents with household income below $60,000. The corresponding figure for incomes over $150,000 was 19%. However, the different income groups appeared to share a similar low opinion of insurance advisers.
What's the problem with this? Well, for a start, their definition of "lower incomes" includes 86% of all New Zealand taxpayers. Meanwhile, the contrasting figure - for those earning over $150,000 a year - represents about 1% of New Zealand taxpaers, or around 12 people if their 1200 person sample is representative (which means that they're also not particularly statistically reliable).

It's just another example of how the media dialogue - around tax, around benefits, and now around trust - disproportionately focuses on the views of and impact on a tiny wealthy elite, while ignoring or discounting the vast majority of kiwis. We just don't exist as far as they are concerned.