Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama's myth of the "suffering" middle class

The "war on the middle class" is provably an invention of the Democrats and the mainstream media. But I repeat myself.

Barack Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton have all highlighted the "suffering" of the middle class... the "two Americas"... and that the average Joe is getting squeezed by the wealthy.

Reason TV has produced an exceptional series of videos that shatter conventional myth-making using (brace yourself, "progressives") facts. This quick summary of Living Large - the vanishing Middle Class should encourage you to watch the entire seven minute video.

The mainstream media has relentlessly marketed the idea that the middle class is getting shafted by the rich.

News programs, pundits and politicians claim that the middle class is, in fact, vanishing.

The concept that only a select few "rich people" have unlimited wealth and that everyone else is "poor" has been a constant of the Democratic presidential campaign: John Edwards' two Americas... Hillary Clinton's "Spread Prosperity"... and Barack Obama's "suffering" families.

Economist Michael Cox is author of Myths of Rich & Poor (Why we're better off than we think).

Cox says that looking at raw wages isn't an appropriate measure. First, it omits benefits. Second, how much things truly cost is the most important metric.

"Is the cost of everything going down? No. Is the case of the vast, vast array of things Americans purchase going down? Absolutely."

Money is the typical way we measure how much things cost. But Cox thinks we should use a more appropriate measure: time. "The best way to measure cost is work time: how long do I have to work in order to afford to buy something?"

Take the cost of a typical consumer product like a cell phone. In the eighties, the movie Wall Street depicted mobile phones as the rich person's toy. The original cell phones cost upward of $4,000... the average worker had to labor 460 hours to buy one!

Today, however, the typical $50 phone is less than three hours work.

460 then, three now. A huge decline in the costs associated with these products, which any middle-class person can now easily afford. There are many other products and services that have likewise dropped dramatically in price.

In terms of time, the cost of a car has dropped 70%.

Food is 84% cheaper.

Clothes are 87% cheaper.

Even housing is going down. We look at housing prices and assume that costs are going up. But houses are two-and-a-half times larger with fantastic amenities. Dishwashers, stoves, microwaves, central heat and air, fireplaces, etc. are common in the average home.

The cost of a cross-country flight has plummeted by 95%.

Such progress, yet so many middle-class Americans feel lousy.

For example: a CBS news poll marketed by the broadcaster that claims only 19% of Americans feel they are "getting ahead in life".

Gee, I wonder why? Maybe less Americans would feel that way if the mainstream media didn't promote the patently false message of doom and gloom.

The concept that the middle class always gets shafted by the rich is a constant theme in today's media.

People are always told it's more difficult to make ends meet.

"It's not the high cost of living... it's the cost of living high. That we insist on having everything; having so much more."

Too bad the reality-based perspective is never considered newsworthy.

"There is suffering out there; there has always been suffering; and we will always have suffering out there... but how does it compare to the past? Americans are richer today than at any time in history. We should really be thankful..."

* * *

Shhhh... no one tell the Democrats that many middle-class Americans have toys like motorcycles, boats, luxury SUVs, etc.... and that some are even obese.

Hat tip: Parkway Rest Stop

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