Get your violins out for the middle class
Just a quick one today, some extremely bad “reporting” over at the Washington Post (is this the US arm of the Daily Mail?) which was tweeted by Mr Money Mustache the other day.
Read the article here
It is about middle class expenses rising while wages stagnate (despite the apparently phoenix from the flames like recovery of the economy over the last few years, really?). The comments section is predictably harsh on this unwitting family but if you can’t be bothered to read the story or the comments here are some highlights:
- The first sentence: “On a routine drive to the beauty salon, Robin Johnson had one of those life-happens moments” – no further discussion needed really is there!?
- The second sentence: “Her 13-year-old Durango, with 200,000 miles on the odometer, overheated and started sputtering” – Apparently this is an extremely low MPG, gas guzzling SUV, and I am presuming the majority of the miles have been done by this family themselves.
- Later on in the article: “They have one laptop and three iPads, and each girl has a computer in her bedroom. The bill for four cellphones runs about $300 a month.“
So as you can see, they are easy cannon fodder for the readers, and apart from their unwise spending the biggest mistake they’ve made it seems was trusting the WP reporters on either how this article would be portrayed, or the likely reaction they would receive. I actually kinda feel sorry for them on this second point at least!
One other thing which really annoyed me though was the following:
Fewer Americans find themselves in the heart of the middle class with every passing year.
In the mid-1970s, the majority of Americans were in the middle, with 52 percent earning the equivalent (in today’s dollars) of $35,000 to $100,000. Today, according to census figures, the share of households earning under $35,000 is virtually unchanged, 35 percent. The shift has occurred in the other two categories. Households with incomes over $100,000 have doubled, to 22 percent, while less than 44 percent are in the middle cluster.
Ok… so the angle here is that the middle class is being squeezed out, there are fewer of them, which is a bad thing, right? Hang on and look at those figures… there are only less of them because 11% of people have only gone and moved into frigging upper class!!!!
Unbelievable. I’ll leave it at that I think.
Oh and here was an amusing/amazing story that someone linked to in the comments section which is worth a quick read: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/04/monkeys-make-better-stock-market-traders-than-people-study/