By NEIL GILBERT
Dr. Gilbert, a professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, is a fellow of the American Academy of Social Welfare and Social Work.
Countless reports now claim that the middle class is being crushed by inequality, declining mobility and diminishing income.
Because it is good politics, it plays to jealousy and some sick desire for victimhood status.
A closer look at the facts suggests otherwise: Members of America's middle class are better off than they were 30 years ago, and they live much more comfortably than counterparts in other countries.
Which of course is consistent with those that have lived long enough to remember 30 years ago and how little we had compared to today at all levels of income.
And if you have an agenda, you don't want an accurate measure, you want a measure that shows no matter what you do, you are needed more than ever.The problem with the research showing middle-class stagnation is that it looks at market incomes, which exclude taxes, government transfers and adjustments for household size. Market income is an accurate gauge of employment compensation but a misleading way to consider a family's financial resources. It overlooks the welfare state's enormous power to redistribute income.
When households are then divided into five equal income groups, the data reveal that average disposable household income has increased across all groups since 1979. The average household income grew by 40% for the middle quintile and increased by 49% for the bottom quintile.
The American middle class boasts the fourth-highest disposable household income in the world. The U.S. finishes behind only Luxembourg (a country of 500,000 people), oil-rich Norway, and Switzerland, which stayed out of both World Wars and imposes the strictest immigration laws on the continent.
That last is key. When you bring in 10 million or more low income workers, guess what that does to income statistics
The average U.S. family has 38% more disposable income than a family in Italy, 25% more than a family in France and 20% more than a household in Germany, when adjusted for purchasing power, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Inequality in the U.S. is not a struggle between the "haves" and the "have-nots," but a social friction between those who have a lot and others who have more.
Of course that's not good for American politicians that want to exploit the jealous and greed. They as Jim says worhip money and it's always easy to find somebody that has a lot more and you feel do not deserve it as much as you do. Who could ever deserve it more than you do?