Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The myth of middle class stagnation

Don Boudreaux and his former student Mark J. Perry both write excellent blog articles and short essays on their own. Last week they combined their powers to write one amazing, fact-dense piece on the myth of  a middle class that has seen no developments in decades. Here's a taste to get you hooked:

Despite assertions by progressives who complain about stagnant wages, inequality and the (always) disappearing middle class, middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before. They live longer lives and have much greater access to the services and consumer products bought by billionaires.

Do read the entire thing. It highlights the error of ignoring non-monetary forms of compensation when comparing workers' compensation, it reminds us of the difference between statistical categories and flesh and blood people,  it reveals how technology has drastically improved our standards of living and it shows the diminishing returns of wealth when middle class teenagers can afford the same iPhone a pop star uses.

1 comment:

  1. While this is true, I think I'm inclined to agree with Ramesh Ponnuru, who has been writing about this recently, about how "take home pay" has essentially flat-lined. And that's important.

    While benefits, healthcare, and lifestyle luxuries are indeed something have increased, and has made the middle class more comfortable, it's become apparent that what people really focus on is the money that they take home.

    I think more conservatives need to become more aware of this, as opposed to rationalizing it in other ways.