Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When everybody lies...

The media and both political parties persist in describing our time as one of economic stagnation or worse. Recently there's been widespread attention given to the "fact" median household income has  been flat or fallen over the past 25 years:

The American middle class hasn't gotten a raise in 15 years


The incredible shrinking middle class


Regardless of any economic stats or emotional appeal to the average American's struggle, the plain fact is:

The middle class is Waaaaaay better off and prospering than it ever has been in American history.  Nonetheless  it seems everybody still wants to deny this, and then blame their political enemy for things being so "bad".

Here's evidence that things are so good:

Average household has over 5 internet connected devices

That means it is now average to:
-have a phone at all times
-check bank acct anytime
-listen to thousands of songs anytime
-watch almost anything anytime
-do business anywhere
-have gps verbally give directions to anywhere
And on and on

-- think of the choices we have in terms of eating that weren't so even 15 years ago and definitely not 25 years ago.  On a basic level think about Mcdonalds and Burger King in those timespans.  From coffee drinks, desserts, healthy menus, and new products.  Think of the proliferation of Subway and more healthy restaurants as alternatives.   But on a deeper level, look what's available to average middle class families in the grocery store.  There's fresh seafood, worldwide fruit and veggies, all the products have multiple times more choices.  There's classic coke, caffeine coke, diet, cherry, cherry sprite, regular sprite, diet sprite, 20 calorie 7 up, vitamin water,  no cal vitamin water, juices ,10 types of Gatorade, iced teas, lemonades, half and half, whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, almond milk.

There's frozen everything that tastes really good. Microwave oatmeal, popcorn with too many flavors to mention.  The point is no reasonable person would take the grocery store of 15 years ago, definitely not 25 as being equal or a little better than today.

The average Middle class has hundreds of tv channels available to watch. This includes many niche interests like the baseball network, the cooking network, the weather channel, 6 sports channels, 5 news channels, numerous movie channels, music channels, and so on.  25 years ago it was less than 10.  Even 15 years ago, it was less than 100.

Plus most have DVR's and everything is digital.
Everything can be time shifted to fit your schedule.

You get the point.  We can play around with numbers to imply that the middle class is having tough time compared to 15 or 25 years ago.

Basically the influx of computers and technology into our daily lives, as well as much more edifice use of resources throughout the economy

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