Drew Carey Offers Some Perspective on the “Middle Class Squeeze”by Stephen Littau
This short episode does a great job of comparing the quality of life of middle income Americans from the past to the present but doesn’t even get into how average Americans enjoy a higher standard of living than most of the rest of the world. Even in these uncertain and unsettling economic times we are now living in, most of us are doing quite well once we put everything into perspective.
Still, I’m sure that I will see some angry responses from some readers who insist that the income gap is something that we should all be demanding of our politicians to rectify. Radley Balko received such responses when he posted the same video to his blog and offered the following response to his readers:
Look, the purpose of the video wasn’t to tell middle class people that they’re happy if they aren’t. It was to provide some economical and historical perspective to counter the constant class war message in the media that the middle class is “under attack.” It just isn’t so. Inequality may well be growing, and that may well contribute to the sentiment among many in the middle class that they’re being left behind. But they aren’t suffering, or on the verge of extinction. We’re all much, much better than we were a generation ago. We have more free time. We take more vacations. We have nicer things. We have less to worry about [...]
That the last century of unprecedented prosperity hasn’t made us significantly happier isn’t terribly surprising. We’re constantly measuring ourselves in comparison to those around us, not to our parents or grandparents. And if everyone is getting better off, everyone is going to continue measuring their self-worth against everyone else. Someone is always going to have the best house on the block, someone is always going to have the second-best house, and someone is always going to have the worst house. So long as there are classes, there will always be class envy. That everyone is getting progressively better off can easily escape our notice.
We could solve class envy, of course. We could end inequality with massive wealth redistribution. History has shown that such policies can indeed make everyone equal–equally poor and miserable.
If you are unhappy with your station in life, before you ask the government to take money from someone else at the point of a gun and give it to you, look in the mirror and ask yourself the question: “Am I doing all I can to achieve the standard of living I desire?”