Middle Income Stagnation: Great Fodder for Budding Politicians…

I find myself presently in a state of waiting. My cell phone, through some magic, allows me access to dozens of books to keep me well occupied while I sit here. Should my wait take me deep into the evening I’ll want for little as I’m finding the ebook on technical analysis to be quite interesting.

Makes me think:

Popular opinion/analysis says middle class folks have seen zero by way of inflation adjusted income gains for years. A find that proves to be great fodder for budding politicians.

Let’s assume that those politically convenient findings are spot on: That a family with a $50k income, say, 25 years ago, survives on $82k today. Which, again, assuming 2% annual inflation, means said family has seen zero real income growth.

That is, same number of mid-priced TVs in the home, same number of mid-priced cars in the garage, same number of dinners out each month, same one family vacation a year, and so on. 25 years have passed and nothing, no lifestyle improvement whatsoever; or so the politician would have us believe.

Well, not so fast! Let’s think about those mid-priced TVs for a minute. I wonder how many channel options today’s family enjoys compared to the family of 1991, not to mention the high definition. And how about those mid-priced cars with the Bluetooth and the backup cameras; luxuries not available on the ’91 mid-pricers. As for the dinners out, suffice it to say that along with a growing population, in a capitalist market, comes dining options that the ’91 family could not have imagined. We can delve into entertainment options (like my ebooks) and other amenities/opportunities, such as cell phones and connecting with friends and loved ones through face-time and social media, but you get the point.

Bottom line, a middle income family today enjoys a vastly richer lifestyle on the very same real dollar of income than did the middle income family of a quarter-century ago.

That’s free market capitalism at work!

If you find yourself warming up to the message of a Sanders/Clinton/Trump,etc., please understand that you’re allowing the most thoughtless statistical analyses/interpretations to cloud your senses. And understand that the results of taxing producers to pay for the items that only a candidate desperate to win might propose (free college education and the like)—or, say, the walling off of trade (international trade being chiefly responsible for the above mentioned luxuries)—can only serve to limit the rate of enrichment that the family of 2041 will have otherwise enjoyed.

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