The US poverty statistics are rather confusing as I never tire of pointing out. They’re measured to a different standard, in a different manner, from those of every other rich country. And thus the result we get is not comparable to any other rich country at all. Not only that, given the way that poverty is measured in the US the poverty rate isn’t even comparable over time. That doesn’t stop people throwing around numbers though, as we’ve just seen from Bernie Sanders. He’s claiming that the number of people in extreme poverty has doubled since the Clinton welfare reforms of the 1990s. And this is true, if we look only at one very specific definition of that extreme poverty and the number in it. And it’s also not true if we look at the larger picture in the round. Not that I’m trying to support Hillary in this, the person Bernie is using this number to attack. Supporting Hillary isn’t going to be one of the things I do in this or any other electoral cycle. However, while we’re going to talk about economic numbers I do think it’s important that we get those numbers right.