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To Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, RE: the middle class

Where’s the ‘devastating hollowing’ out?


 
Re

Chrystia Freeland at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 25, 2013. (Pascal Lauener/Reuters)

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have been preparing the ground for a policy agenda focused on the problems of the middle class.

Read: Canada’s middle-class incomes are stuck: Why it matters and how to fix it – By Kevin Milligan

One of the themes is the stagnation of middle-class incomes, an issue I examined a few weeks ago in this post. It turns out that although real median incomes are only slightly higher than they were 30 years ago, this statistics masks a U-shaped trajectory in which incomes declined during the 1980s and 1990s and have since grown steadily:

Another theme is that of the “hollowing-out” of the middle class. Here’s how Chrystia Freeland — a candidate for the LPC nomination in Toronto Centre — put it:

When it comes to today’s economic revolution, a very small and very lucky and very smart group of people is already benefiting (…)

But the other side of the coin is the devastating hollowing out of the middle class in the western industrial democracies. Traditional middle class jobs are being made redundant by the technology revolution or outsourced to lower-wage economies.

These are valid concerns. If middle-income earners are in fact being hived off to the upper and lower ends of the income distribution, this polarisation could result in social tensions that would be difficult to resolve.

But is the Canadian middle class actually getting smaller? Answering this depends on how you measure who is in the middle class. Here’s a chart that uses two measures: the percentage of those with incomes within one-third that of the median and that of those with incomes within half that of the median:

I don’t see much of a trend. I certainly don’t see how Canadian data fit with a narrative in which the phrase “devastating hollowing out of the middle class” can be used.

To be fair, Ms Freeland was not referring specifically to Canada. Still, she does appear to be doing what others have done before her: Take data from other countries and use them as a basis for a Canadian policy agenda. (See, for example, here and here.) It may be an effective way to put together a winning electoral strategy, but it’s not how evidence-based policy-making works.


 

To Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, RE: the middle class

  1. What you have left out is that the middle class have no representation and pay the bills. The major parties work for their large supporters, the Con for business the ndp for unions and Quebec and the Liberals go with the flow or what ever gets them elected..

    • Yep, its all about greed. Far too many other people money for nothing programs. You can be a middle class productive worker, and have so much dead weight to support that you see less than 50% of the value of you wages in one order of income, property/utility and spend side tax inflation.

      And they want more to bailout government unions, and people with government union pension s pay…yet they may not even have a pension. But none of these corrupt parties represent the middle class non-government worker. Got FN people wanting more, and do nothing but whine and squat for it. Government loves its bloat, bigger than ever before, and not productive.

      You make $100, pay $40 in income/EI/CPP, then 10% for property/utility taxes, then buy $50 of gas that is 40% taxes…so for $100 labour you get $30 tax out on gas.

      Government gets 70% so you can go to work. We have become tax slaves to a government that does not represent us any more.

      • Absolutely right on! PROGRESSIVE SLAVERY! We need a B’RAT cutback of at least 50% NOW! These NON PRODUCERS are sucking our country down.

        • Happened with Liberals and NDP support it too. Hey, NDP/Lib/Bloc coupe d’etat attempt to get GM bailout moneys, with Air Canada money that will never be repaid, or the whopper bank bailout, all cam with all three parties selling out the non-government middle class worker.

    • Oh come off it… haven’t the Conservatives lowered the GST as promised and catered to the middle class families with a $3,500 tax cut? What more do you want in your greedy existence, what will satisfy you? BTW, a childless couple are not legitimate ‘middle class’; they are just social parasites living for their own hedonistic desires. Such people only want a tax cut to sate their greedy existence. (If I were King of Canada, I would tax the crap out of singles and childless couples… and reward couples for large families.)

      • Really??? You have some nerve…What about about people that have had the tragic misfortune of being unable to have children??? Do you have the first clue about those people? There is all kinds of social assistance for dumb teenagers that make bad decisions…Talk about “social parasites”…My wife and I get to watch a bunch of our tax dollars support kids-having-kids like Pez dispensers, thinking “it’s great to live for free…Just keep squeezing ’em out.” Yeah, more kids that will grow up to have criminal records…But is there any support for couples seeking treatments for infertility? Nope. You’re on your own. Society doesn’t care one bit…least of all the Conservatives.

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          • So you’re saying immigrants are a form of poison? Nice.

          • Not really. Ottawa hyper taxation has setup a situation where people can’t afford as many kids. Singles get late starts in life as they are taxed like slaves. So domestic baby production is below 1.5 children per family and that is serious negative population growth. That also means less future taxpayers.

            Government tax greed drives open immigration. If you can breed, young, married, your chances of getting in are pretty good, especially if you have 3 under the age of 5 kids.

            Governemtn has its reasons for letting them in. Since they have botched CPP and union pensions, they need future taxpayers to pay the 10.5% guaranteed return on MP pensions….

            Ottawa has become a greedy pig. They view us as tax sheep.

          • Taxing singles to subsidize families is a zero sum game. Fiscal prudence says you should save a down payment for a home while single and newly married without kids. How do you do it if government greed taxes it out of you?

            Then married, inflated costs with tariffs, duties, high wages, high taxes, CRTC cartels, dairy cartels, meat cartels, all add to Candian cost of living you don’t pay down debt and not much room to save.

            Then retired, the economy has anegative value return on pensions, you might still be in debt, again taxed like singles. Even worse as the spousal deductions are not there if you both work for the governemtn without the benefits (non-government worker).

            Governemtn can’t create wealth, they can reallocate it but vcan’t create it. When they take money from one person to another, it is a zero sum game at best. But if you factor in government meddling costs actually negative value as government costs don’t create wealth, they consume it.

          • I agree. Taxing singles would mean fewer singles would have the resources to have kids, while those who can already afford kids would benefit. You’d just as likely end up with fewer kids than more kids.

          • Why does “fiscal prudence” demand we *own* our homes at all? Given relative ROI on stock market v. suburban new builds, it makes sense to rent and invest the remainder.

          • When you pay off your home, you begin to pay youself to live there.

            Pay your home off and you will discover why. But here is a hint, I have $2000 a month more cash flow going into my investment account. Even retired early and do three tropical vacations a year as I get the money and not the bank or landlord. And my rent increases are limited to property and utility taxes.

          • As one of those childless couples I can assure you that we pay our fair share of taxes if not more, there are several tax credits that are not accessible to me and my wife that are available to families. And of course we support through our general taxes all manner of services for children . . . We could be ignorant and say we should not have to do so since we have none, but we do recognize the value of supporting something that will benefit us all.

          • Good point — on balance, our tax system greatly favours married people and people with children, so I don’t really see what Observant has his panties in a knot about.

          • So do those that once the kids leave, taxes go up as they desperately need to save for retirement.

            Fact is governemtn screws everyone in the end. They love us bickering about single, versus married without dependents or lots of dependents. As if we fight and distrust each other, makes it easier for government to manage us.

            When the reality is, government is screwing us all.

        • Adopt. The world has 100s of millions of orphaned kids. Or get artificial methods. But my guess is many are not having kids as they are over taxed and can’t get a stable middle class situation before they have kids. Some people are responsible enough not to have kids they can’t afford.

      • Actually, they broke that promise too. Yes, he reduced GST but hidden taxes like duties, excise, tariffs and taxes you never heard of increased to hide the added taxes for a net tax increase.

        Also tax table slide. Basic deductions and rate change amounts have gone up much less than inflation making the low income people pay more taxes after inflation. Even pensioners and disabled get screwed as real inflation is much higher than CPP payout increases. That is, Ottawa now takes more of CPP and pays out less.

        As for sigle verus familes, we all get screwed. We all start out single, get hyper taxed and can’t save for a home. So we over debt ourselves, get married, costs of living have a lot of embedded taxes so few kids as not many can afford 4 kids. Costs so high you don’t reduce debt much and end up older and not much savings, even many still have mortgages into their 50s. And in retirement you get screwed because you have no money saved up, it was taxed away from you over your career, Trudeau debt was never free and never paid off.

        We are over taxed slaves of state. No option on my ballot for less taxes and less government money for nothing waste. All parties just bicker on how to screw the middle class non-government workers with more taxes. As the unions get the bailouts, high wages and padded pensions, but no one is bailing out the middle class like banks and unionized Air Canada.

        Ottawa is just a greed fest on the backs of non-government productive workers in Canada. Too many parasite consumers of other peoples money and not enough productive people.

      • Childless couples are the parasites? Its you breeders sucking up subsidies. They should charge you a license to have children..so many bumpkin dropouts having kids at twenty and i am sick of half me income going to support them. Scumsucker.

    • Who are these “big supporters” you speak of?

      Corporations cannot donate to federal political parties. The max personal donation limit is 1100, which represents a tiny fraction of overall party revenue.

      • Oh, why let pesky facts get in the way of a lefty rant.

      • Actually they can and do in a variety of ways. First, fund a lobby group. No real limits on lobby groups other than the cash they get. Top 10 lobby groups:

        http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/11/27/in-the-lobby/

        Note how GM got bailouts and is a top 10 as are bankers and cartel pricing beef producers too.

        Next way is to informally ask all executives and board members to expense out political donations in their name. Even governemtn employees with your money do it:

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2013/04/25/edmonton-complaints-about-donations.html

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2012/11/16/edmonton-redford-calgary-health-region-fundraising.html

        Fact is the system is corrupt to the core when your sister can use public moneys to donate to poilitical causes. Anyone with any morals and any ethics can clearly see the conflict of interest and the fraud of this.

        Our democracy isbought and paid for my back room money, media in pocket you are in a ruse at the ballot box as the ballot was chosen for you. You then vote for a MP/MLA that really doesn’t ansewr to you at all and has a term dictatorship without referendum, without recall and you have no recourse.

        Democracy in Canada is a farse to keep people thinking they have democracy. Sure, we have democracy because we can vote but the game is rigged so it isn’t so democratic at all. Our influence is marginalized every step of the way and why politicians can ignore the commoner on G8/20, GM bailouts, bank bailouts, cattle cartels, media cartels, dairy cartels, Air Canada bailouts, union pension bailouts on the backs of people without any pension…..they can just lie,deny and ignore us.

        • So you want to ban lobbying? Every environmental organization, union and health advocacy organization would be shut down, unable to have their arguments heard.

          • Why not ban lobby bribery? Two ways to fix it, one is $12 per vote or $30 directed by taxpayers.

            Another way is blind donations and make lobby donations blind anonymous with meeting with politicians illegal.

            Anything to stop back room lobby bribery. As they in fact incite politicians to lie and decieve us for our money to corruption and waste. People need to see the obvious conflict of interest in GM, Government Motors lobby for bailouts. Its really a game of corruption as they have more inluence than voters.

          • Like i said, you don’t know what you are talking about.

            Lobbyists cannot donate to political campaigns at the federal level. They can donate personally, but those funds cannot be directed from any corporate account, and they top out at 1100 bucks.

            Also, it wasn’t just GM lobbying the government for a bailout — it was municipalities, unions, pensioners etc. that all relied on that company to survive. I personally was against it, but this was simply not a case of corporate strong arming. The Feds actually went so far as to nationalize that company to prevent it from going under.

  2. It’s not what you’ve made at the end of the year that counts but how much you’re able to save for your retirement . If you don’t have your mortgage paid off and at least $450,000 in the bank by the time that your 65 then you might be in lot of trouble financially. The people who still haven’t gotten the message on this one will really suffer the consequences when that reality eventually hits home. Living within their means will take on a whole new connotation for this select group of people.

    • You need a lot more than $450,000 to retire, might I suggest at least a million? I say this as we are in a negative value economy where returns are below inflation+taxes, thus why pensions require more, and pay out less. Money and society is now negative value with inflation. This means that $450,000 is depreciating faster than it is growing in value.

      Government has taken the debt fraud route of low interest rates that are below real inflation+taxes. In such an environment incomes, pensions, cash and savings depreciate in value even if you get some small dollar return.

      Say last year I lent/invested $1000, and this year it is $1010, taxable $10 yields $1007. If I bought the same stuff this year as last year’s $1000 could buy, I would pay $1060. But wait, I am short $53, I have lost 5.3% in value. A negative value return, a hidden inflation tax if you will.

      People are waking up to the fraud of government inflationary money print for debt. But I have been aware of this fraud from day one in 2006 when Bernanke pushed the fraud to the G8.

      While I did well, most people in the middle class got screwed.

      • Which is why I find it interesting that pensions are not more of an electoral ballot issue. IMO, they should be.

      • Even counting for inflation, with your mortgage paid off, $30,000 a year to live on for 15 years estimated life expectancy after 65.comes to $450,000. There’ll be lots of people with way less than $45,000 in their RRSP’s at retirement. While you won’t be able to go jet setting around the world, $450,000 covers it.

        • RRSPs above say $75k are tax traps. I made this mistake and now end up paying a higher percentage of taxes on the way out than I deferred on the way in. As cash investing income is now high, I am at the near top tax rate without working. And why I retired before 55 as my work was taxed at 42% the first dollar I made.

          So I am using the next ten years to draw down my RRSP, as when I get CPP/OAS (and clawbacks), it gets worse.

          I would have been taxed a lot less if I didn’t put so much in RRSPs as over the years I would have gotten dividend and gains credits and not a 100% tax hit. If you do the math, RRSP/LIRA are tax traps. Only use TFSA as you can get your money out later without the huge tax hit.

          For many, RRSPs end up being more of tax me less today without RRSP, or tax me more tomorrow inside a RRSP. As taxes never go down, tax table slide guarantees it.

          But banks and government love the fraud of RRSPs, gets you locked in and they get more taxes in the end.

          Even in death, your RRSP becomes taxable at full top rates.

          Nutshell, if I make $400,000 in gains in a RRSP, I pay taxes on $400,000. If I make $400,000 gains in cash account, I pay taxes over time and at the lower gains rate. And if taxes go up I even do better as gains 10 years ago were taxed less than today.

          RRSPs get too big, they become tax traps. Only reason to have a small one is for the pension deduction of $2000, it only needs to be big enough to generate $2000 for each of you and your spouse. After that it is a tax trap.

          • I used RRSP’s as a reference point, something that most people are familiar with, not a recommended investment vehicle. One point worth noting, that during the Ontario recession of 90-91, the vast majority of those people ( an estimated 80% ) who had money in their RRSP accounts, who’d been laid off due to the economic downturn, withdrew funds from them. I doubt that they were ever able to replenish them as a result.

          • Yep. But if they saved cash, they would not have had the tax bill hit.

  3. People like Chrystia Freeland sense the Middle Class’s frustration about the way policy is being developed and the world is being governed and are using this frustration as 1. a way to make money and 2. to get elected. Freeland has no intention of changing anything as she has graduated from global policy central – Harvard. She is a stalking horse hoping to dupe middle class Canadians into voting for her by drawing in the protest vote. They tried with Ignatieff and it didn’t work. It won’t work with Chrystia either. Here is one of her daffier quotes on Anthony Weiner’s confession. “Today was a masterful performance. I thought he was very contrite; he was very direct; he let people ask him a lot of very tough, personal questions. It’s going to be used by crisis management trainers for businessmen who have done something wrong.” She also thought it was a “classy touch” for Weiner not to include his wife. The woman is a dingbat. She also thinks the European economy is outperforming the US because of universal health care. When challenged on it, she could only come up with one country that is outperforming and that was Germany. Hardly Europe.

    • Got any links for these quotes? And who are the Cons running?

      • They are verbatim quotes as she was on MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan.

        • I shall take them with a grain of salt then.

    • Chrystia is Justin’s ‘girl’… and if he could have his way, all Liberal candidates would be youngish generation of women… a harem of Liberal gals!!

      • That’s Harper’s schtick, with his generational change roll out of bottled blondes.

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          • They are brunettes…

      • 3 people gave this the thumbs up? That means there’s 4 morons lurking around this message board…

    • Hmmm

      I thought Harper had the protest vote all sewn up. It is interesting to me how successful politicians seek the angry voter. I suppose it us because an angry voter is a motivated voter.

      Harper won with bad policy like reducing the GST, increasing criminal penalties and false promises like making government more accountable. He threw in the “we’ll have another vote on gay marriage” thing for good measure. He has convinced his followers that the media, courts, universities and schools, Elections Canada, the RCMP, the environmentalists and all sorts of other organizations, are out to get them. He has tapped into a whole sector of angry, motivated people. It works for him. If Trudeau is able to do the same thing Harper should be flattered.

      • Yep. And I think the way to get over this is to start voting with our heads. No free stuff, no anger and get them to actually declare what their policies are. The whole “hope and change” from Obama? Nobody thought to ask him what change he had in mind. We’ve got to be aware of these buzzwords that need clarification. I think the Star (wow!) challenged Trudeau to actually formulate how he would legalize marijuana. Don’t just throw ideas, buzzwords and talking points out there. What would you actually do?

        • Sure, but that does not win elections. Don’t blame the politicians. Blame the people who vote for them.

          It is no accident the right is anti-education.

          • Yep. Public school is propaganda and tax sheep factories of statism worship. Kids can not even balance a check book. Left wants uneducated kids as easier to bilk them later with taxes and they are less likely to question the corruption and waste.

          • Yea its so terrible we are better educated than americans..terrible i tell you

          • I recommend a re-read of Plato’s Republic.

      • No different than the Liberal lies of eliminating the GST.

        Fact is all parties in Ottawa are about governemtn bloat, more taxes and less for the middle class tax-slave producers. Its why the middle class is failing, its taxed out of society to support a non-government middle class.

        Too many non-value added consumers of other peoples money and not enough productive producers….that is the real economic problem at the top level.

        And I am unaware of any governemtn agency doing its job effectively, efficiently and economically. RCMP, AANDC, CF, HC, CRTC, dairy boards, politicians, Competition Bureau, and more are just parasites making your life more expensive and consuming your wealth.

        And not one option on your rigged ballot for less governemtn and less taxes.

        Even though Harper did reduce GST by 2%, he quietly raised customs duties, excise taxes, tariffs and other taxes and fees you never heard of to more than make up for the 2% GST loss. Sort of like gave us back 2% on GST and soaked us with 5% in hidden taxes. A shell game where Canadian consumers lost big but were deceived into thinking it was less taxing.

    • Europe is as broken as the USA is on debt. The entire G8/20 debt fraud counties of currency/debt ponzi fraud are in trouble.

      Part of why Ottawa is concerned about offshore, more people are going offshore for better returns and less exposure to G8 currency failure. And if you move offshore, Ottawa gets no taxes of you moving you and your money out. Over 60,000 retirees in Costa Rica alone and rising. Tax savings alone pay for golf, fishing, health care and everything from autos to homes, the big stuff is far cheaper as they don’t have the corrupt war mongering governemtn bloat to pay for.

      G8/20 economies of pyramid debt fraud will take decades of steady decline for the fraud. Its why going offshore is now a necessity for savvy investors. Canada is a negative value economy, with a declining value of currency and tax greedy.

    • Actualy China outperforms the entire G20 as they do not have government bloat.

      But the ditz leftie statism people love their denial of reality.

      • Do not have government bloat? Its a communist country..this wins the stupidest comment of the thread award.

  4. How about we focus on the lower class? Getting poor working people to a place where they can save and spend benefits all of us.

    • From the bottom we have FN, lower class, welfare, criminals picking our pockets for more money for nothing.

      From the middle -upper class government unions pick our pockets to pad wages and fund their lavish pensions when many of us get neither.

      Have the back room corrupt bailing out GM, Air Canada, AECL, banks and other back room rich buddies…..

      Even got government equalization in on the act, pay for being inefficient, ineffective and anti business. A subsidy encouraging waste.

      Too many parasites on the middle class non-government worker to survive. No party represents the middle class.

      No options on the ballot to reduce government waste, lower taxes and leave us with more of our money. Just a bunch of pigs whining for more of or money for more waste. Just governemtn BSing and deceiving people into more taxes for more waste.

      Me, I am tired of working for Canada. Needs to be more for me.

    • LOL… the poor refuse to ‘save’, they only ‘spend’ because they have no hope so they just live for the moment. Haven’t you figured that out yet?!

      • They could save if they worked and invest in educating themself. It is actual more profitable and easier to better ones self than self pity whining fo other peoples money for nothing. Many are just spending too much energy on whining and not on winning.

    • The best plan is to provide better opportunities for *all* workers to upgrade their skill-sets and their paychecks: to make more middle-income earners. That’s part of Trudeau’s plan to increase post-secondary education and worker-training levels from 50% to 70%.

      But all neo-con book cooking aside, there really is a hollowing out of the middle class going on. Here’s a different take of the same numbers (less the hidden agenda):

      “But if you’re in the middle, you’ve likely been getting nowhere — or, at best, getting somewhere thanks to ever-larger debt loads. A presentation made to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last October, and obtained by Postmedia this week through access to information laws, shows the extent of the problem.

      “According to the Finance Ministry report, Canada’s middle earners saw income grow a measly seven per cent between 1976 and 2010, when adjusted for inflation. That’s just 0.2 per cent per year.”

      Canada’s Middle Class Falling Behind Everyone Else, Report To Flaherty Finds
      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/10/middle-class-canada-falling-behind_n_3569156.html

      • Well, if it’s in the Huffington Post, then that settles it.

        • Actually it’s “according to the Finance Ministry report.” The HP is reporting facts and figures, not trying to fudge them.

          • From the second paragraph of that article:

            said in a report looking at wage inequality in the United States

            Can we get to talking about Canada, we’re not the USA as much as Liberals would like to think so.

          • If you knew how to read you would see that the article explains the hollowing out of CANADA’s middle class based on two sources: a) the Ministry of Finance report; and b) a TD bank report. The article also looks into the same effect in the US. Readers with Grade 6 reading comprehension skills would not be confused by this.

          • The science is settled. Debate is over.

          • “The science is settled. Debate is over.”

            More empty (headed) rhetoric. I guess being an AH can be fun if you have no life…

          • Yep, the middle class is being decimated. Even poverty level incomes in Canada are income/employment/property/utility/and lots of hidden taxes on cheese, beef, shoes, cloths and the like.

            We have been turned into a nation of tax slaves. As no options on the ballot for less government means we have no effective democratic way of stopping it. And taxation without effective representation is slavery.

          • It’s up to voters to determine how much government they prefer. Canada ranks #9 of 31 OECD developed countries in level of taxation. The idea we are overtaxed is pure con crankery.

          • Oh really? You think the Finance Minister’s report contained the word “measly”? No, it didn’t. Because the HP article is the writers own spin on the actual report.

            For example, no reasonable person would call a 7% increase a “hallowing out”. But whatever, you’re mind has been made up for years and no amount of evidence or proof will change your mind.

          • It’s a 7% increase OVER A 30 YEAR PERIOD. Economists from the Ministry of Finance, TD Bank, the OECD, the Financial Post, and the Globe and Mail interpret this data as the middle class being hollowed out. They are intelligent, informed and certainly reasonable. You, however, possess none of those qualities.

          • That’s so amazing that you’ve been able to locate a bunch of articles arguing that our middle class is threatened, shrinking, etc. Clearly you’re a gifted researcher. And an incredibly critical, original thinker.

          • What are you babbling about? Look Einstein, the issue being discussed here is whether or not Canada has a shrinking “middle class.” You tried (and failed) to claim the HP was an unreliable source. I provided articles from other sources that specialize in economics. Given your pathetic attempt at wit, you obviously have nothing intelligent to add to the discussion.

          • None of the article’s you “cited” have anything to do with evidence or facts, they’re simply misguided opinions, that you happen to agree with.

          • Either they are misguided or Gordon is. You can’t even read a simple news article. So you sure in hell are no authority on the matter.

          • So nothing to counter them.

          • Another opinion piece that doesn’t actually address any real, factual evidence. How about you try to actually refute any of the numbers Gordon listed above?

  5. The middle class isn’t dying from technology, who cooks this up? It is dying from government monetary fraud and bloat. No party represents the middle class, all are too busy pandering to their other peoples money for nothing masters. All Ottawa does is pander with other peoples money and none want to leave more money for the middle class.

    Our hidden taxes are so high you could make poverty wages and pay income taxes, and the hidden taxes on food like 284% tariffs on mozzarella cheese…. dairy cartels, media cartels, auto cartels, all these costs add up to make the middle class taxed, tariffed, duties, excised poor for government bloat.

    Transfers, bailouts, FN layer of non-value added government, defective F35s, equalization for being unproductive are all taken the toll. And now the middle class is dying.

    Heck, with debt fraud, government even prints money and lies about inflation to deceive the people. After all, no one is lending money to government were returns are below inflation+taxes. Its also why the senior poverty class is a growing class, the money they saved is depreciating fat with compounding inflation tax.

    Blaming technology is a cop out. Just media BS and brainwashing. Read the fable about the “Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs”. Statism and greedy need to get their hand out of the pockets of producer. Money for nothing types need to get real productive jobs and not treat whine for other peoples money as a national product.

    But I suspect the greed of the top and bottom of society will kill the middle class.

    • What Canada needs desperately is a NDP socialist-unionist federal government to bring down the upper and middle classes, down to the level of the loser lower classes who need government for their survival welfare. A Dipper government would be like a national enema that would level out the playing field down to the level of a ditch full of shirt… socialist heaven shirt!

      • Funny. NDP are at least as bad as the others.

        NDP supported Air Canda on Mulroney’s planes as did Liberals. Air Canda never did pay all the debt back to taxpayers.

        Happening again, last year Ottawa bailed out Air Canda pensions and has been lending more money no one sane expects to ever be read as Air Canada union need new planes.

        GM and bank bailouts had NDP support. In fact they tried to bribe Bloc for a NDP/Lib/Bloc coupe over the issue. But lets look at provincial NDP history. SK almost went bankrupt, and couldn’t get new loans at reasonable interest rates, with population shrink they went under a million people. Only when NDP got the punt did SK again grow and get a better job environment. Manitoba and BC to this day are taxed like slaves.

        No NDP glory in the history of NDP that I can find. Everything including Ontario still cost people plenty as NDP debt is never free, it just accumulates and absorbs wealth.

        By the way, this isn’t to support Liberals or Conservatives, as the fact is they are all statism tax greedy parties. None of the parties really represents the middle class producer. There attitude towards the middle class is tax’em sheep some more. All they do is bicker on how to spend our money on waste and money for nothing.

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  6. Freeland wrote a book that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is getting squeezed out? Sheesh, I’ve been saying that for 20 years – is this supposed to be a revelation? I haven’t read her book….. what does she offer as the solution when she’s positioning herself as part of the 1% (if she isn’t already)?

    • I have to admire your confidence; I would be far too self-conscious to comment on an article without reading it.

      • I don’t understand your comment at all. The article above states that’s what the book is about (rich getting richer & middle class getting squeezed out)…… did I miss something? I simply said that’s not a revelation and then asked what, if any, solutions does she make in her book. I fail to see what “confidence” is required to make that statement.

        • Take a minute to check out those graphs champ.

          If all else fails you can read the direct passage from the author to surmise the gist of the article:

          “I don’t see much of a trend. I certainly don’t see how Canadian data fit with a narrative in which the phrase “devastating hollowing out of the middle class” can be used.

          To be fair, Ms Freeland was not referring specifically to Canada. Still, she does appear to be doing what others have done before her: Take data from other countries and use them as a basis for a Canadian policy agenda.”

          In other words the claims made by Ms. Freeland don’t appear to be backed by reality (what the data says in Canada).

          • I am waiting for what she actually says about Canada before jumping on her.

          • You’ll wait along time because policy junkies from the US think everything is the same. Look at Occupy. It had nothing to do with Canada and yet the dweebs up here fell for it. There they were, marching around complaining about the 1%. Canada doesn’t have a 1%. We have like a .79%. Our 1% are probably in the top 15% in the US and therefore closer to their middle class. We have a couple of wealthy families but only a couple. They have dozens..

          • Ok Champ… I’m not a statistician, but if they’re measuring the “middle class” by the “median” income, then the “size” of the middle class may not change much, but “income” of the middle class will. If the “median” income today is $60k/yr, but the median income in 20 years is $30k/yr, then you will still have a “middle class” technically, but at a much lower income. Get it Champ?

          • Yeah, but any measure of variance about the median value does not really tell us much about the middle class. At best it is a poor proxy for identifying -the middle class- based upon how many peoples income clusters close to the median income. If you want meaningful analysis, then at a minimum explore family incomes, education levels, costs of living contrasted to incomes. etc. etc. etc.

          • Exactly my point.

        • The article presents a statistic argument that Canadian data does not show a situation where the middle class is being ‘hallowed out’. A book by Freeland is not even mentioned in this article.

          To make matters worse, you state that you know the middle class has been getting ‘squeezed out’ after being shown a statistical argument showing exactly the opposite. Although you didn’t have any revelations when you read the article the first time, perhaps if you read it fully you would.

          • He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than for illumination.

          • The article is addressed to Trudeau and Freeland – it’s not about what what she says in her book – what is Gordon referring to?

          • I think he is just talking about the general theme being presented by Trudeau that the middle class is being eroded by rising income inequality.

    • When the 1% of the population controls over 5o% of the profits of a country, you’re going to have problems. The bigger the wage gap, the more problems you will have.

      • No you won’t because that 1% are winners who will reinvest their money to make more jobs for new markets. It’s only greedy and ignorant lower classes who believe this socialist claptrap only intent on getting more money from the government to spend on beer, popcorn, blue jeans and hockey gear for their equally ignorant kids… it’s all soooo obvious.

        • The trickle down effect is BS, look at where it’s gotten us. The fact the a very small pat of the population controls to majority of profits puts too much power in a small groups hands. Just look at the world, what as the wage gap grows, so will things grow worse.

          • Except as I pointed out above, Canada has such a small population of “wealthy” that the trickle down effect doesn’t work here.

          • Look… why should employers pay dumbed down and lazy Canadians a living wage when offshore workers can do the job better? As for those in the ‘service’ industries, they are only worth min wage because there are plenty of people willing to work at those wage levels… even university grads with useless Arts and 3 year soft science degrees.

          • Who’s going to buy the products being made? The offshore workers? And by offshore workers, I’m assuming you mean people who work in sweatshops.

          • Just visit Walmart and you will find all the union wage consumers buying their junk from China… except for their motorboats and skidoos… and maybe even then….!!!

          • Not if the jobs get sent out of country, or the Canadians replaced with TFWs.

          • Canadian high school dropouts are not worth unionized wages because Asians can usually do the job cheaper and better. Have you seen the obese bunch of unhealthy slobs coming off their shift at GM, Ford and Chrysler? Of course you don’t object to union dictatorship of the workplace and screwing the rest of us.

      • Except Canada doesn’t have a 1%. We have maybe ten to twenty wealthy families. That’s about the total of wealthy families in Massachusetts.

  7. Liberal Chretien – No GST!
    Conservative Harper – From 7 to 6 to 5%!
    Trudeau & Freeland – It’s the middle class, stupid!

    It’s called fishing for votes. How about legalizing pot and explaining exactly how the Liberal party will save the middle class? How about a Liberal with federal economic chops, like oldster generation Goodale and McCallum, come out on central stage and tell us what economic magic they would spin to ‘save the middle class’? And soon, because Trudeau and princess Chrystia just don’t have the credibility to talk ‘economics’. Talk is cheap from the likes of ‘Son of Quebec’ Trudeau and ‘Alberta’ Chrystia, ex-USA.

    • Legalizing cannabis would be a big boost for the economy. There are many common products (not drug related), that can be made from cannabis; paper, lumber, fabric and fuel. The plus they’re all green alternatives. You can get more paper from an acre of cannabis, than you might get from an acre of forest, and harmful chemicals used to process. Only water is need to process hemp fibbers into paper.

      • WOW!!! Sounds great, but Justin’s Pot Policy only addressed the needs of potheads and the Toronto sympathy vote for incarcerated youth with a criminal record for being such bad liberal boys and girls. Now if Justin had stressed the economic advantages of maryjane cultivation, I’m sure that the rural vote would go Liberal after farmers bought into switching from corn, grain, veggies, to moneymaking maryjane crops! Of course the Canadian cigarette factories mostly in Montreal wouldn’t be so happy… unless they could roll doobies too. Then there is the stifling cost of government regulation and accompanying bureaucracy to ensure purity and potency. Minor problems no doubt ……

        • So you need Trudeau to hold your hand and tell you what’s good about cannabis? I doubt you’d believe him, even if he did.

          Are you not capable of doing a Google search, or doing basic math?

          • All I’m saying is that Justin should have equally stressed the economic benefits of marijuana cultivation on a large scale on Canadian farms. He only spoke to the issue of criminalizing occasional tokers with a small stash for personal use. Exactly what is Justin’s Pot Policy… middle class Canadian families want to know. Perhaps you should send an email to Justin’s campaign coach, Gerald Butts, and enlighten him on all the benefits of maryjane to the Canadian economy.

          • You could even have farms downtown, in major cities. No need to use up valuable land, that could be used to grow food. It would also help clean out polluted air in the cities.

          • Ahaa… so what you want legalized is your domestic gro-op for your personal stash, and maybe sell a bit in the street on the side! If maryjane was legalized for large scale farm production, you can bet that home gro-ops would be doubly illegal and the penalties would even be harsher… to protect the farmers. So ‘legal’ would mean no home grown shiit and anything for toking is government approved and taxed.

          • God, what an incoherent, fallacious argument. Instead of a straw man, you’ve created a straw law.

          • I’m talking about using multiple floors of skyscrapers, that could supply paper, cloths and lumber.

            You prohibitionists, always assume everything involving cannabis is about getting high. You know what the say about ASSuming, right? Seriously, are you naturally this ignorant, or do you have to work at it?

  8. One doesn’t have to rely on graphs & charts to know that middle-class incomes have shrunk and that average folks aren’t making as much bang for their buck as they did during our parents’ day. People can see it and sense it in their own lives. Some of the political pundits may try to minimize how much average folks are hurting, but the reality is there all the same.

    • In other words, to hell with the facts that Stephen Gordon trots out above. To hell with nuance. If you think middle-class incomes are shrinking, then it must be true.
      That’s funny, I thought Liberals were supposed to be the ones who were all about facts and evidence-based policymaking. I guess I was wrong about that.

    • Yes, the reality is there somewhere. Don’t bother looking for it by using numbers and evidence though.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Get yourself a working keyboard because it seems to be skipping spaces.

    • Rebecca,
      What you refer to as “graphs & charts”, the rest of us refer to as “data”. Another way to describe “People can see it and sense it in their own lives” is “anecdotal evidence”. Evidence-based policy depends on evidence and data not anecdotes.

      • Rebecca lives in Los Angeles. Even her anecdotes are worthless.

    • Are you talking as Rebecca Fine of Canada or Rosanna Lopez, family law lawyer of California? As Rosanna Lopez, I fail to see how you have the slightest inkling of Canadians from your vantage point in Los Angeles, in southern California near Mexico.

  9. Dude, only you are thinking of the “middle class” as only being a relatively narrow band of 20% in the middle. When a politician speaks to the “middle class” he’s speaking about a much wider middle. I’d argue he’s speaking of at least the 60% of people in the middle, maybe up to 75%. Politicians aren’t trying to capture the hearts and minds of 20% of the population. I don’t know what you chart would look like if you looked at a larger middle class, but you frame the middle class in a way no politician is thinking of the middle class.

    • Okay, here’s the problem with defining “middle class” other than income level. Harper is going for the “family” vote in the middle and lower classes and he has given them big tax breaks for having kids. If you define middle class as also the DINKs (Double Incomes No Kids), then Justin might be trying to tap into that vote. I wouldn’t categorize DINKs as middle class… they are in a greedy class all to themselves.

    • Trudeau’s definition of “middle class” is anybody who feels they deserve more for doing less. He’s attempting to tap the lazy and entitled voters.

      • Or people who think that a few unilateral policy changes by a Canadian federal government (including, of course, jacking up income taxes on high income earners) can somehow insulate Canadians from the reality of globalization.

  10. I wonder what the data looks like if you plotted it for the generation under 35. Those are the ones being hollowed out.

    • How do you know?

      • Exactly. Opinionated conclusion first, data maybe later.

  11. Actually – taking data from another source, That is NOT representative of the Canadian situation is worse than you state.
    It is fraud and misrepresentation.

    In fact it is barefaced lying

    Liberal doing it to us again.
    Friends of Dalton.

    • That is not surprising as Justin has hired a team from the Democratic Party to run his campaign. I’m sure they think that Freeland is a wonderful choice.

      • They’re pushing the “Justin Beiber Halo Effect”.. and girls of all ages are vulnerable because most vote with their vaginas… sooo obvious.

  12. Let’s get real here Having been in business (service) industry our wages have gone down Where we could work hard for three days and make a good living 10years ago now takes 6 days and we still don’t clear as much as we did then

    • That’s because of the labour market competition for service jobs, where even recent university grads with useless Arts degrees and 3 year soft Science degrees who can’t find jobs will work at McJobs to survive. It’s a take-it or leave-it situation because there are plenty of people willing work in min wage jobs.

  13. You’re talking about Liberals. Facts are irrelevant. Feelings matter. Logic is pointless. Senseless slogans matter. Evidence is useless. Dishonest diatribes are the way. Welcome to Liberal lala land.

  14. Killer Question: — Who has your confidence to eventually, hopefully reduce taxes for the middle class… the current Conservatives… the tax and spend Liberals… the spend and tax Dippers … who??

    • Who cares? The correct question who has my confidence to spend my tax dollars in a way that actually benefits Canadians. All Canadians, not just the ones who want a gazebo in their neighbourhood.

      • Pray tell who may deserve your confidence to spend your tax dollars… the Trudeau Liberals?… the Mulcair Dippers? If either of those became next PM of Canada, that sucking sound you will hear is your tax dollars flowing copiously into Quebec.. sans doute…!!!!

    • You mean like cutting 14 billion annually out of the budget of the federal govt, thus handicapping the capacity of any future govt to offer meaningful income tax reductions or reforms? Not to mention a coherent response to growing national and global problems like climate change. We’ve had more then enough of that kind of politically motivated idiocy to last us a good long while thanks.

      • Perhaps the slack can be taken up by provincial governments to restore lost social programs… after all the federal government did drop the GST by 2 percentage points, or about 30%. Surely the provincial governments can raise their PST’s as needed for individual provincial needs. Besides, the federal government has already slashed personal income taxes substantially. What do you want them to do, chop out the $1+Billion CBC subsidy for more tax reductions?

  15. Blah Blah Gordon.

    • You wound me, Madame.

  16. I’m not sure how this graph could be in any way meaningful, or the analysis on which it’s based in any way correct.
    If for every person who saw their salary go up from $100,000 to $200,000 there would be 20 other people who saw their salaries go down from $50,000 to $45,000, by any measure that’s terrible. But the median wouldn’t change very much, and the percentage of people within 30% or 50% of the median would remain almost the same, and you would mistakenly conclude that everything is OK.

    Statistics can be misleading if you don’t know how to analyze them properly. They can also be manipulated to try to try to support whatever argument you’re trying to make. Using these statistics as a measure of the status of the middle class seems rather odd.

    • “If for every person who saw their salary go up from $100,000 to $200,000
      there would be 20 other people who saw their salaries go down from
      $50,000 to $45,000, by any measure that’s terrible. But the median
      wouldn’t change very much, and the percentage of people within 30% or
      50% of the median would remain almost the same, and you would mistakenly
      conclude that everything is OK.”

      You clearly don’t understand what a median is. What you stated is entirely wrong. In your example, the median would have dropped by the same amount as every other salary that dropped, or the shares of those close to the median would have changed significantly.

      You appear to be talking about the mean, although that’s not entirely clear either.

      That is why they are also showing the median and not just the mean.

      • The median can be the mean, but the mean cannot be the median …. have I got it right, or is it the reverse… confusing!!!

    • Maybe the reason you don’t understand statistics is because you don’t know the difference between a median and a mean.

  17. Ms. Freeland — “I love this Republic!”.

  18. Send Chrystia back to NYC… with her tail between her legs.

  19. Trudeau’s stand on pot will be his downfall. Legalizing pot would spread its use to teens faster than the present. . Suddenly pot would be covered by the same law as booze. Selling to minors would be a slap on the wrist.Pot dealers would have no problem paying the small fines attached the price of doing business.as the legal age would be the same as booze. School grounds would be swamped.

  20. Should the hollowed out middle-class cohort also include formerly middle-class now
    working for minimum wage? In other words the middle class suffers from wage stagnation
    and also being shifted into the lower class. What are the numbers or does that not fit in with someone’s bias?

  21. Middle class is dying from statism tax greed. Far too much economic idiocracy going on. Government can not solve the problem as government statism policies are the problem.

    Add in so many Canadians are economically ignorant and think other peoples money for nothing is a rite. Half our taxes go to unproductive, corruption bailouts, statism wages and benefts, corporate, provincial and city welfare…on the backs of middle class tax slaves. We are not productive as a nation.

    But hey, politicians, statism and money for nothing types like denial and deception.

  22. The chart — and the article — don’t tell the whole story though, do they? Market incomes have fallen to where income after tax and transfers were 33 years ago; income after tax and transfers may be higher, but if the comparison is dollar-for-dollar, it buys a lot less. If my parents had been earning in 1980 what I am now, our family of seven have been swimming in money. But my current income is barely enough to pay for a mortgage, bills a small amount of savings in a household of me and one semi-dependent adult. Mere dollar-to-dollar comparisons may not show the gutting of the middle class, but you can’t tell me that replacing good-paying manufacturing positions with McJobs is maintaining a healthy middle class in any real sense. And those who don’t think a healthy middle class is important should remember that one of the reasons the Canadian economy has failed to bounce back entirely from the recession is because the middle class stopped spending — whether because of lack of money or lack of confidence — and our economy depends on them continuing to spend.

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