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How Is the Middle Class Doing?


Published: December 6, 2017

Is it true that the wages for those in the middle class have been stagnant since the 1970s? It turns out that economic life is difficult to measure accurately. Depending on what you decide to measure, the numbers can support different interpretations.

Watch Episode 2 in this series, The Paradox of Household Income.

Discussion Questions

  1. What group should we measure in order to discover how the middle class is doing in America?
  2. Does it make sense to exclude the elderly when trying to measure the progress of the middle class over time?
  3. Why does it matter if the composition of the middle class is changing when trying to assess the performance of the economy?

Referenced In The Video

  • Paul Krugman “On Income Stagnation,” available here.
  • Jared Bernstein on “Piketty’s Arguments Still Hold Up, After Taxes,” available here.
  • Scott Winship on “Middle Class Earnings Are Stagnant! (Because Retirees Have No Earnings),” available here.
View Transcript