retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times this morning focuses on a new study showing that the American middle class no longer is the most affluent in the world.

"While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers," the story says, an analysis "shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

"After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans."

The story goes on to say that "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."

And, the Times writes, "Median per capita income was $18,700 in the United States in 2010 (which translates to about $75,000 for a family of four after taxes), up 20 percent since 1980 but virtually unchanged since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The same measure, by comparison, rose about 20 percent in Britain between 2000 and 2010 and 14 percent in the Netherlands. Median income also rose 20 percent in Canada between 2000 and 2010, to the equivalent of $18,700."

It is a fascinating, Eye-Opening story. At least I think so. Though to be fair, there are some folks who think I'm working this whole wage disparity thing too hard. But I think I'm right, that the long-term implications for the culture could be devastating.

You can read the entire piece here.
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