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Office Hours: Russ Roberts on the Middle Class

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Hoover Institution Research Fellow Russ Roberts responds to your questions on how the middle class is doing.

We often hear that the middle class is stagnating and making no economic progress over the last four decades. Those making this claim use statistics to back up this pessimistic conclusion. Yet it is easy to find other statistics that lead to a different conclusion and that show that the middle class's standard of living has in fact been growing. This video explores how different assumptions can easily change our perception of how the economy treats the middle class. The bottom line is that it data questions like these are often more complicated than they appear to be.

  1. 0:14 - Is it true that the rich capture all of the gains from economic growth?
  2. 2:30 - What should we do to provide more opportunity for individuals in the economy?
  3. 5:10 - Are increases in the cost of living for things like health care, housing, or tuition accurately represented when we measure inflation?
  4. 8:00 - How do you keep yourself from being fooled when presented with numbers and economic data?
  5. 11:07 - Why should you be skeptical of experts on your own side?

Watch the original video, "The Numbers Game: How's the Middle Class Doing?," here.