Over at TCS Daily David Henderson is writing a three-part series on Alan Reynolds’ new book, Income and Wealth, which apparently takes a sledge hammer of empirical evidence to the widespread belief that middle and low income folks are getting screwed. Henderson says the book “will prove to be the most important book on the U.S. economy in 2006 and possibly one of the five most important in the decade.” Here’s a bit from the first installment:
Reynolds continues by telling of a 2004 story in the Washington Post titled, “The VanishingMiddle-Class Job.” The Post article pointed out that in 1967, nearly a quarter (22.3 percent) of households made between $35,000 and $49,999 in inflation-adjusted terms, but that that share was down to 15 percent by 2003. Reynolds notes that the same article showed that the percentage of U.S. households with a real income higher than $50,000 rose from 24.9 percent in 1967 to 44.1 percent in 2003. Moreover, the percentage with income lower than $35,000 fell from 52.8 percent to 40.9 percent. In other words, the “middle class” was shrinking because people were moving out of the Post’s statically defined middle class into a higher income class. Comments Reynolds: “The article could have been more aptly titled, ‘The Vanishing Lower-Class Job.'” But because Reynolds shows elsewhere that higher-income households tend to have more than one worker, one can’t simply equate households and jobs. Therefore, the article would have been even more aptly titled, “America’s Families are Getting Wealthier.” But that’s not exactly the message or the tone the Post was shooting for.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.