Russ Roberts on middle-class income stagnation

Using an animated format, he starts to delve into the statistics. It is aimed at people without formal education in economics, but it struck me that some of the points that it makes might be best appreciated by a trained economist. Kind of like a children’s book with jokes mixed in that only adults can get. I imagine that if this had been available when I was teaching high school economics, then I would have used it.

Recall that Russ conceived and scripted the famous Keynes-Hayek rap videos.

This entry was posted in income distribution-wealth-poverty, Introductory Economics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Russ Roberts on middle-class income stagnation

  1. collin says:

    Since only 37% of Americans say they are better off today than 50 years, it appears Russ efforts are missing something with the average American. (FYI I don’t agree with that above statement partially because 50 years ago my teenage sons would be drafted for Vietnam in 2 years.) Also we have to remember that people in the 1950-1960 optimism was because they were comparing themselves to the Depression childhood.

    1) I believe a lot of it is conflating past eras. To someone 47 years old, it feels like we are worse they were 20 years ago in 1997 and the internet boom which could be confusing a someone else better off 50 years ago. Or the using 1973 is the high point of working class wages on most charts. And we have remember that even in the 1950 more people lived like the Kramdens (w/kids) than the Cleavers.

    2) The main issue for conservatives is the modern economy is GIANT marshallow test and it is fine once you get to where you are. Look at the age of marriage, children and settled careers. In 1960, these were 25 for most families and now it is 35. This is hurting small c conservative churches more than anything.

    3) Still every number you look at show the majority of the gains going to the rich although the population of the rich is increasing.

    4) Sure it is great to live a couple more years after 80 but that does not mean a lot to stressed out middle class families with kids entering adulthood. And it really nothing to someone struggling with first job at 23.

    5) Oddly enough, I still say we are the verge of long term increasing wages and it really started in 2012 now that the populations of China and India are increasing wages. The employers really miss the 2009 – 2012 labor markets so they are struggling with this economy.

  2. collin says:

    FYI, this reality is not just income stagnation but also most social issues. Most older conservatives voting for Trump swear crime is vastly increasing and a lot higher than the 1980s. Or the behavior of high school students are way worse today than 1970s/1980s. Or that teenage pregnancy, divorce rates and violent drug trades are vastly higher than 1985 or 1979. (Of course some of it was them partaking in fun bad behavior that feels innocent today.)

    They swear that all kids are growing in latch key environments like the 1970s.

  3. Here is I think a very important and under recognized factor in this debate — expectations. I do not have the actual survey so this all comes from memory, but in 2003 Gallup surveyed a bunch of Americans and asked if they expected to be rich someday (rich = $1 million in assets as I recall.) 30% of all Americans and 50% of those under 30 said yes, they thought they would someday be rich. The actual proportion of rich at the time was, I think, 2%. The financial crisis blew the doors off this fantasy. So people HAVE stagnated economically, but maybe more importantly, they have lost hope. They was robbed and they are desperate to punish the perps. After all, it can’t be their fault.

  4. Handle says:

    It’s a decent video. But. Someone please tell the policyed folks to stop with the insane JavaScript madness, for example, with dynamic resizing of frames and pop ups from the edge, etc. Embrace the old streamlined, minimalist approach. It was so annoying and laggy that I had to bail their webpage and bring it up on YouTube proper. Webpages of many prominent sites are going down this unfortunate route, and it makes browsing an annoying, slow, and frustrating experience. Try bringing up an NYT article in developer mode and one can sometimes see over a hundred scripts and megabytes of data that must load, for actual desired content of just a few hundred bytes. There is no excuse for web experience to be anything but lightning fast on nearly any device these days, but many of these webpages are now loading slower than they did 15 years ago, not to mention the creepy amount of obnoxious tracking involved. I understand the tough economics of the industry make these folks willing to engage in some “digital desporation”, but boy have they been encouraging me to try and circumvent their increasingly crappy sites more than ever before.

Comments are closed.