Every once in a while I toy with the thesis that someone ought to make a big deal about the fact that a lot of the standard statistical data about the United States that we track is of a kind of low quality. One noteworthy example is the poverty rate formula, which is basically nonsense. Apparently Barack Obama believes we should change it. This is a good idea on many levels, though one issue any time you change anything like this is that you don't want to lose the ability to track trends across time.