The American middle class is no longer the most affluent in the world. On Tuesday, The New York Times published the findings of 35 years worth of survey data that “offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Times concluded “most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.”
“The American middle-class no longer the most affluent in the world. Let me say that again: The American middle-class no longer the most affluent in the world,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “Does that bother anybody?”
Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago.
“You know what made this country was middle class, the fact that you could actually get out of the lower class and you could then move into the middle class,” Glenn said. “But we're destroying the middle class.”
The Times also published a “simple table” that illustrates how, since 1980, the incomes of the American middle class and poor have been growing more slowly than anywhere else in the world. The Times cites the American education system and a lack of focus on the creation of well-paying jobs and workers’ skills as some of the main culprits. But Glenn had some other ideas.
“Inflation is one way of destroying the middle class. You won't be able to afford your groceries. You won't be able to afford anything. And so then you'll start to listen to people who say, ‘You know what? We need is a minimum wage’… instead of looking at the policies that are destroying our middle class,” Glenn explained. “The poor in much of Europe earn more than the poor Americans. You know why? We have shipped out all of our jobs. We don't create anything.”
The American people and the American economy have proven their resilience time and time again. But Glenn fears too many people are now blindly accepting the status quo without taking the time to understand the root of the problem.
“I cannot believe how resilient this nation is, how resilient this economy is, and, at the same time, how many people are just accepting it without examining the way they vote, without examining their own parties,” Glenn concluded. “It's not just the Democrats that have done this. It is the Republicans as well. And for a long time, they answered to us. They don't anymore.”
Read the entire report from The New York Times HERE.