What’s happening to middle class incomes?

The news isn’t bad. The real issue is men’s wages.

by Stephen Gordon

It’s almost a cliché to note that the interests of the middle classes play a disproportionate role in politics. There are many obvious reasons for this: to the extent that income is an important factor in determining political preferences, the Median Voter Theorem predicts that voters in the middle of the income distribution will determine who wins elections. Moreover, many people are inclined to believe that they are members of the middle class, even when they’re not.

There are reports that the Department of Finance has put together some research documenting the problems of the middle class. One of its conclusions is apparently that income growth in the middle fifth (or quintile) of the income distribution has lagged growth in the quintiles above and below it. The report has not yet been made public, but it should be possible to check these results against publicly-available data. Much of what follows is taken from Cansim Table 202-0701.

Many – if not most – people appear to have difficulty placing themselves in the income distribution, so here are the 2011 thresholds of the five income quintiles according to Table 202-0405:

Income quintile thresholds: 2011
Quintile Lower threshold Upper threshold
Lowest $25,900
Second $25,900 $46,100
Middle $46,100 $70,800
Fourth $70,800 $110,500
Highest $110,500

The Cansim data start in 1976, and here’s how average incomes in these quintiles (all incomes are in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars) have evolved since then:

 

Average real  middle quintile incomes were lower in 2011 than they were in 1976, so concerns about income trends cannot be dismissed. What does jump out of the graph is the U-shaped profile for all income groups, and especially for the three lowest quintiles: there is no sustained trend. The 1980s and the first half of the 1990s were terrible, but much of those losses have been recovered over the last 15 years (this is Brian Lee Crowley’s point). I suppose it’s a good thing to be concerned with incomes in the lower- and middle-income groups, but the time to be really concerned about turning around a worrisome trend was twenty years ago. The past 15 years or so has seen significant broad-based improvements in wages and incomes.

Another thing to consider is that the above chart is for market income: wages and investment income. However, purchasing power is defined by income after taxes paid and transfer payments received from the government. (These transfers are especially important for the lowest income quintile.) Here is how after-tax incomes have evolved:

 

This graph reproduces what we’ve heard about the Department of Finance study, but of course we’ll have to wait until it’s made publicly available before we know for sure where their numbers came from. But the existing publicly-available data do show that real, after-tax income growth in the middle income group has lagged behind the quintiles above and below it in the income distribution. It should also be noted that this summary masks the U-shaped pattern: income growth over the past 15 years has been reasonably robust.

It’s worth taking a closer look at the relationship between market and after-tax income, because this difference is a measure of how governments redistribute income:

 

The first years of the sample were unhappy ones for the middle quintile. Real market incomes were falling, and this reduction  was not offset by a favourable income distribution regime . But both trends reversed themselves in the mid-1990s: market incomes increased, and the middle class benefited more from income redistribution.

This chart shows the net redistribution received by each quintile, expressed as share of total income:

 

Some – but not all – of the gains at the top of the income distribution were offset by a tax and transfer system that took an extra three per cent of total income and redistributed it further down. But not, at you might think, to the lowest income quintile: the middle quintiles have gained most. Governments seem to have modified Robin Hood’s motto to “Take from the rich, give to the median.”

Another important issue is what is going on with men’s wages. Much of the gains over the past decades can be attributed to gains made by women in the labour force: more women are working, and they are earning more.

(Source) The slight uptick in men’s wages just before the recession was the first noticeable increase in decades, and much of those gains were lost in the recession.

The stagnation of middle-class incomes may no longer be a problem that needs solving. The stagnation of male wages is still a major challenge for policy-makers.

 




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What’s happening to middle class incomes?

  1. Impact of changing criteria for immigration (economic class; more market focused) ?

  2. Canadians refuse to admit class exists, so everyone claims to be in the middle….as this article points out.

    For years factory workers claimed to be middle class even when nobody else saw them that way. Their union wages were high, but they still showed up at the factory door with a lunchpail.

    In the ‘crisis’ of 2008 GM and Ford had to be bailed out, and the workers that were left took a major wage hit. These are the ‘male wages’ that aren’t coming back.

    The hit is actually to the working class, the lower class……but our fiction is that we don’t have one…just a middle.

    • “everyone claims to be in the middle….as this article points out”

      This article doesn’t say that at all. Not in the slightest. What you’re saying has absolutely no connection to the article whatsoever.

      • First paragraph, last line, highlighted in red, ‘even when they’re not’.

        • The article then goes on to look at reality, not where people place themselves. That one statement is in the article, true – but it is far from being the issue actually discussed.
          You are off on a tangent (again).

          • No, you’re playing games….again.

          • I never did that kind of research but I understood how class was measured – working class, middle class, and those above these two, and those who were on welfare or unemployed.

            It must help the statistics they want to see, to figure it out this way, with five groups instead of four.

            One thing it’s not, is reality.

          • Yeah, the more it can be pinned down the more useful it is to economists.

          • Economists surely make up their own definitions – whatever’s most useful.,

          • Umm no.

          • So who makes them up?

          • There’s a whole field out there in Sociology that studies class, and has done for years.

          • And so you think that Sociology, with a capital S, never changes in the way it see things in society, such as ‘class’?

            Even sociology has to adapt to changes it sees happening.

            And yes, I took Sociology. And that’
            s what Sociologists do – they define their terms so everyone knows what they mean, otherwise they have to keep going through scenarios like this.

          • Socio-economic class structures haven’t changed. We still have the same class levels we did when it was first studied.

    • Yes, factory workers were judging class on the basis of income. The educated or professionals might be judging it on the basis of that – their occupation. And yes, the researchers did that too.

      • No hon, it’s a known field….not something you make up.

    • Actually it was GM and Chrysler that picked our pockets, Ford did not take bailouts.

      But yes, a bottom quartile $25k/year is taxable income unless you have lots of dependents. Even then CPP/EI and spend side visible and hidden axes apply.

      For example, cartel tariffs, duties, excise, and more hidden taxes exist that nail poor, working poor… 284% tariff on cheese, 232% tariff on beef, lots of duties on shoes, cloths….$40 billion a year in fact that is not visible.

      But all people shoudl ask, should the bottom quartile without pensions be bailing out GM, Chrysler, Air Canada, bankers and government union pensions? Fact is bailouts are corruption of the worst kind as most people will never get a derived benefit from the corruption. But we have big fat bloated government right?

      • Ford also got a bail-out just a short time prior to the headlines.

        And most people call themselves middle-class in Canada even when they aren’t.

        You have a lot of fantasies about taxes. Seems to be all you think about.

  3. The after-tax incomes graph is fascinating. Contrary to the usual bromides that the poor always get shafted, that the poor is always hurt the most, in reality the poor have done very well, relatively. The lowest quintile has seen income growth surpassing the three quintiles above them. Not only that, the relative success of the lower quintile has grown since the Conservatives came to power in 2006.

    • That “relatively” is a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

      To see the shafting, look at the redistribution table.

      However, in fairness, this shafting has indeed lessened since 2006. Shifting more to the highest and second highest quintile.

      But the bulk of the change in the redistribution has indeed gone to the middle class as Stephen suggests.

  4. Funny, most articles you read suggest otherwise.

    Like polls, graphs could represent just about any outcome that is desired.

    • Or you could google……… man cession

      • Or I could just go about my business and let those who feel the need to justify their existence by comparison have had it, because in my world status is as about as useful as a peacock in comparison to a vulture, while the vulture lacks the flash it sure does a great job of cleaning up what others would find distasteful.

        • Then do so.

  5. In economics, sometimes the numbers lie… According to one article, income growth for middle-class households “jumps to 30 per cent” when the numbers are “adjusted for shrinking family size” since 1976. Like Mark Twain said, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

    Huffington Post: 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

    “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.

    “The numbers look better when adjusted for shrinking family size. Middle class households today have fewer working adults than they did in 1976; when the numbers are adjusted for this, income growth jumps to 30 per cent for the period — still below the top fifth of earners.”

  6. I found 10 or so articles on the stress the middle class is under, some from the G&M and Financial Post citing organizations like the OECD and TD Bank. This one is particularly interesting because it’s based on information presented to Flaherty in October 2012 which seem to conflict with the above mentioned reports from the Minister of Finance.

    Huffington Post: 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

    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 [2012], 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.

    Meanwhile, the top one-fifth of earners saw their incomes grow 38 per cent during that period, adjusted for inflation. For the country as a whole, the overall rate was 18 per cent.

    But the report also found that the median wage in Canada (the wage right in the middle of all wages) fell six per cent during the same period, suggesting a larger proportion of Canada’s workers are in low-wage jobs.

    “Middle-class families have not received significant hourly wage increases. This is true in absolute [terms] and relative to other income groups,” the Post quoted the presentation as saying.

    The numbers more or less square up with other research. In a report released earlier this year, TD Bank found that low- and middle-wage jobs are shrinking as a portion of the economy, as job growth concentrates more and more in the high-wage category.

    This “hollowing out” of middle class jobs is different from the phenomenon seen in the U.S., where job growth has been stronger at both the top end of the labour market and at the bottom end, while middle-wage jobs suffer. But in Canada, both middle- and low-wage jobs are shrinking (relatively), while only high-end jobs are growing as a share of the economy.

    However, what hasn’t shrunk in recent years is middle-class spending. Retail sales growth, though weaker in recent years than it has been historically, still outstrips earnings growth. House prices have also been increasing above wage growth.

    All of this has translated into record-high debt levels among Canadians, with household debt jumping from around 70 or 80 per cent of household income in the mid-1970s to more than 160 per cent in the past few years.

    Many economists say Canada’s over-indebted consumers are now going to become a drag on the economy, as taking on more debt becomes unfeasible for a growing number of households.

    • Middle class people get a salary. Working class people are paid by the hour.

      • The dividing line is by income – not how it is paid.
        And how would you classify me? I get a salary for my regular work week, but if I put in extra hours I get OT (based on an “hourly rate” calculated by dividing my salary by standard hrs in a working week). I fall within the middle quintile – middle class by the standards of this article.
        There are people on an hourly wage who earn more than me – who earn in the fourth quintile – who, by your measure, are “working class”.
        By my measure, anyone who works for a living is “working class”; you’ll note the author does not use the term. Your definition definitely has a snobbish class attitude to it that has nothing to do with income.

        • No, it’s not by income. It’s by social standing….and how money is paid is part of that.

          Perhaps if you actually studied the subject instead of rushing to be politically correct in Canada?

          • Doesn’t it depend on how one define’s it? Whatever the researcher’s study is on, s/he would define the terms used. And that could be class based on occupation, or education, or income.

          • Yes, it does. And there is a standard definition.

          • And what is that again – education?, occupation? income?

          • Usually occupation. Social standing.

            Quick example….a chav who wins the lottery [Powerball/Navidad] remains lower class. The Queen otoh will always be upper upper even if the UK does away with the monarchy.

          • but this study uses income – and 5 categories, because it serves their purpose. It’s not reality. It’s social construction

          • Barbara Amiel, a journalist?

          • Middle-middle. Authors doing serious work….upper middle.

          • Even when married to Conrad Black who was in the House of Lords?

          • Well he was also in prison….same as Jeffrey Archer. There is also a difference between a life peerage and a hereditary one.

            And are you judging her by him or by herself….

          • I am just wondering who in Canada if you were to name them would you consider to be in the the upper class.
            The upper class in the US tends to be the very rich but those people also mix with rich celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Spielberg who own homes in the Hamptons, etc. There is a blurring when it comes to entertainers as well as rich, accomplished people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The classy entertainers and the brilliant self-made rich people are invited “into the club” with the old rich.

          • Well all the classes have 3 further levels…govt people would be lower-upper….while they were in office. The GG would be middle-upper, and the Queen of course would be upper-upper. Always.

            Even the US distinguishes between celebrities and the upper class…..Kim Kardashian isn’t a Rockefeller. LOL There is certainly blurring of course….but John DeLorean was considered only nouveau riche. Mrs Delorean once was photographed with a pillow embroidered with ‘better nouveau riche than never riche at all’. That was before he went to prison of course.

            The one new thing is the tech/science crowd….Bill Gates, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Steve Jobs….being a billionaire doesn’t buy you class…..but their social standing is entirely new. Old money tends to treat them as celebrities.

          • In Emily’s world, the definition is whatever she decides it is – to hell with the definition actually applied to the data. She redefines things to suit her own whims on a regular basis.

          • So dentists or diesel mechanics are working class?

          • Mechanics are working class, dentists are upper middle.

            mcpherson is spamming the board, so I put a general explanation on here as I don’t intend to get bogged down in silliness

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class

            There was a classic book on it years ago. Vance Packard wrote The Status Seekers. It’s still good even if some terminology has changed

          • I disagree. I don’t find the pigeon holes particularly useful. When many ‘working class’ people make far more than ‘middle class’/'white collar workers, then the labels lose any usefulness and become entirely arbitrary.

          • Doesn’t matter if you disagree. That’s what the class structure is….not a matter of personal opinion.

            And as I’ve said, it doesn’t go by income. White collar is always higher than blue collar. Larger in number too….ever since 1956 in fact.

            Hockey players are working class….teachers are middle class.

          • That’s an insane and meaningless classification system.

          • LOL well like it or not, that’s it.

          • Actually, by your definition it is purely opinion-based, rather than objectively quantifiable. A type of caste system.

          • Of course it’s a caste system!

          • Social classes are, yes. But that’s not what the article discusses.

          • Let’s say you’re right. Class structure is by occupation. But not in this study. The researcher is using a different definition of class and says so.

          • Class structure is by social standing ….the Queen would be at the top level even if she was broke.

            But if you want to argue about it all night….do so with Bram, cuz I’m not interested

          • Exactly. Which is why statisticians base it on income and divide it into quintiles.

          • And for this study it’s family income, except for the last graph.

            But this study is about income, not social class. And the reason it is is because the researcher defined it that way.

          • Exactly! Now if only you can explain that to Emily…

          • It’s impossible. I have tried to explain things to her before and it’s impossible.

          • I know. When she gets like that I keep at it just to p*ss her off. LOL!

          • By the way. I have responded to your post on Amiel’s maternal instinct. It didn’t appear when I looked. I posted it hours ago so I reposted it.

          • Yes I saw. You made some interesting points. Haven’t decided yet whether to respond; it would take some work & my daughter is pestering me for the laptop :-)

          • I see it on there now, Sorry for repeats. I know it is sensitive material but it needs to be said. It’s not meant to be personal.

          • I didn’t take it as such :-)

          • Keith, I don’t think you CAN p*ss Emily off. She makes an ill conceived argument and then she retreats to some little place in her mind where winning the argument is all that matters….even if she has to make ridiculous claims to do so. It truly is a no-win situation to engage her in a lengthy discussion.
            Further, her claims of advanced degrees in science and economics are not supported by her black and white stances on issues. When one pursues an advanced university education, the first thing the profs teach you is that almost everything in life is gray. What one believes is right or wrong is based on one’s world view and your world view is shaped by your life experiences. Everyone has a different world view because everyone has a different life experience.
            Suddenly, there is no right or wrong but only differing perceptions based on individual life experiences. The trick is to recognize this truth and apply it to your discussions with others.
            I haven’t witnessed a tendency in Emily ever to be introspective or respectful of opinions that are different from her own. Higher education may not make one more intelligent but I would hope it would make one a little wiser.

          • Well said. But I do occasionally piss her off to the point where she goes away :-)

          • Do you notice though that she never leaves without having the last word?

          • Ahh men, unqualified in the field, never having heard of the field before today in fact!….feeling compelled to ‘explain’ things to the little woman…..and then this firm belief that repeating nonsense will somehow make it true. LOL

          • I usually don’t have to explain the blindingly obvious to anyone but you, Em. The author made it quite clear that his “classes” are strictly income-based – not the British snob system you insist on embracing. The latter is impossible to use for any kind of statistical analysis.

            You claim to be an economist yet you ignore some pretty basic assumptions and try to overlay an entirely different schema on the data because some of the terms overlap.

            Clearly you are in one of your “moods” where facts don’t mater as long as you can engage others in an exchange – and then you accuse THEM of being the spammer. For a 66-yr-old, you’re pretty damn immature. Anyway, that’s my last comment to you on this thread. As you’re fond of sayng… Ciao!

          • You’re not explaining anything Bram….you are talking rubbish, and it makes for boring reading….so I ignore it.

            Amazing that I spent all those years studying and writing exams but a man who’s never heard of the field before starts explaining it to me….and I’m supposed to take him seriously because he’s a man.

            I have tried to have a conversation with you numerous times, but you remain both obstinate and sexist….so Ciao it is.

          • Puh-leeese! It has nothing to do with your sex. By even suggesting that’s so, you have demonstrated who the sexist is – you. You make assumptions about me based on my being male.

            And as for accusing others of obstinacy… that’s absolutely hilarious! I take it you don’t recognize the person in the mirror.

            And what field did I never hear of? As for taking exams – there is a big difference between book learning and actual application. I’ve known some absolutely clueless Ph.Ds. But your assumption that a person without the right letters knows nothing is not new; you show your intellectual snobbery on here all the time.

            And that’s assuming you aren’t just making up your credentials; you have said on here numerous times tht you did not believe the credentials and work history I have stated, so why the hell should I give any weight to your assertions? Esp. when your own statements belie any real knowledge?

          • You were the one discussing my ‘mood’, Bram.

            You never took sociology apparently, or you’d know about class structure and how it’s determined.

            I’ve never said I didn’t believe your credentials….I said they aren’t part of the knowledge economy. Interesting you heard something else.

            Now then…off you go.

          • “I’ve never said I didn’t believe your credentials” Yeah you did. You said I was lying when I said I worked as a supervisor for an editorial team for a professional publisher / information provider. You also once said I was lying when I cited my degrees. But then you’ve said so many false (and even libelous) things about me while trying to discredit my arguments that I’m not surprised you are losing track.

            Working for one of the world’s biggest information providers is not part of the knowledge economy? That’s funny. And sociology and economics are two entirely different fields. And while there is some overlap here, this article is primarily on the latter and is using pure number measures – so “social” class is irrelevant to the discussion. If you can’t tell the difference, then it’s time for you to go back to your books for a refresher.

          • Mmm no, but if you heard it that way you have a problem.

            Unless you’re cloning someone on your editorial team it’s not the knowledge economy. We’ve had publishing for centuries.

            I’m not an economist….said that many times. I’m a developmental analyst….which involves knowing about a multitude of fields. Sociology is one of them. So is history. So is agriculture. So is culture. So is economics.

            You can divide society in many ways….by colour, religion, region, ability to play the piano….there are even surveys about what carpenters make as compared to pharmacists and so on…but this article is about how middle-class incomes are down.

            And I commented that many people who thought they were middle class are not….like factory workers….and so when they lost their jobs it appeared to affect the middle class.

            You’ve been blowing smoke ever since. Go mow your lawn or something, because I’m not interested in smoke.

          • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_economy

            - Describes the business I work for and the work we do to a Tee. You could look at publishing as one of the oldest entrants into the knowledge economy. But we aren’t just print publishers but are online information providers and content generators / synthesizers and increasingly providing integrated business solutions – and our editors are very tech-savvy and involved in constantly driving change. I have been very involved in helping to spec out our core databases; have done extensive liaising with IT during systems development; have helped with user acceptance testing; training; revision of workflows; and documentation. Truth is, I don’t do much actual editing. One again, you have jumped to the wrong conclusion while displaying contempt and snobbery for those you don’t deem to be in your class. Well Em, when it comes to class – you don’t have any.

            “I’m a developmental analyst” – that the latest name for professional BS artist? We have quite a few of them where I work; their sense of self-worth is usually much higher than their actual contribution to the bottom line.

            “And I commented that many people who thought they were middle class are
            not….like factory workers….and so when they lost their jobs it
            appeared to affect the middle class.” Makes absolutely no sense. If they were mistaken about the class they were in then only their perception would be impacted – not the stats. If the stats were measuring social status – which they are not. So go blow your smoke up someone else’s ass.

          • LOL no it doesn’t. You’re just arsing around.

            And the only thing your arse is good for is kicking. You have no clue

          • As with everything else, I guess now you have invented your own definition of “knowledge economy”. Please explain how your beloved Wikipedia has it wrong so I can have a good laugh.

            You know, if you had argued the author was using imprecise terminology and should have used income brackets rather than income classes to describe his data, I would have thumbed it up and moved on. Instead you created an alternate reality where square pegs not only fit round holes, but actually become round holes.

            I’d love to know what you really do for a living. Because with your reading comprehension abilities I really don’t think you can earn a living doing what you claim to do.

          • This is why you’ll never get ahead in life Bram. You’re too busy trying to be clever to even be intelligent.

            I’ve posted that Wiki entry many times on here.

            Ciao.

          • Maybe you should actually read it sometime… if you’re capable.

            Head on back now to your fantasy life and your job as Walmart greeter.

          • I know you’re aware of what Ciao means, Bram. Make it so.

          • As for your mood – you think only women have moods? How incredibly sexist of you!

            Everyone has moods; some more than others. I work mostly with women, and yet there are at least as many guys as women in my office whose moods you have to pay attention to. I don’t associate your moodiness with your sex; just with your being Emily. If you think it’s because you’re a woman, well, that’s your problem – not mine.

          • But for this study, class refers to income.

          • Then it would refer to ‘income levels’ not class

          • Yeah I know all about your social standing viewpoint. I’ve seen how much you love plumbers. LOL!

            For someone who claims to be egalitarian, you sure draw a line between those with university education and those without. Or how someone earns a living. I have a couple of degrees myself, and find there’s all kinds of nice; all kinds of smart; and all kinds of stupid – and a university education is not a good indicator of where one falls on that scale.

            So focus on your snobbery if you wish, but the cleanest way to differentiate, statistically, is by income – not how it is earned.

          • Society does that Keith….stop trying to make everything personal

            And no, hockey players don’t have higher status than teachers.

          • Just bringing up your favorite target group – plumbers – whenever education comes up, dearie.

            But the thing is you are conflating social class with economic class. They are two separate concepts – and the article deals with the latter.

          • Plumbers were brought up by other posters….the mythical 100K a year plumber. I just laughed at it.

            And no, class is about social structure…..which certainly involves money…..but there is nothing for economic class. Sorry

            Now stop spamming the board

          • The author is using “class” in a very specific way. If you – someone who claims to be an expert on economics – are unable to grasp the concept, then you apparently studied at the same school as “Recession? What recession?” Harper.

            So it is YOU who is doing the spamming here.

          • Stop spamming Keith. You’ve been answered multiple times now, and you’re just being silly

          • You keep saying the same nonsense, then I’ll keep correcting you.

            If this were data collected from a question that read Sex: M or F you would insist the data relates to Y or N responses.

      • Middle class people used to be the ones with an education. Working class not.

      • Middle class, middle-income, who cares?

        • ?? Who cares about any of it?

    • And the thing is, you are applying “social class” to a discussion of “income class”. One is judgmental; one is a pure numbers differentiator. A statistical rather than a social construct. In the sense used in the article “middle class” are those whose earnings fall within the middle quintile.

      • That’s how it’s done hon.

        Money-grubbing is soooo American, don’t you think?

        • Judgmental is judgmental; doesn’t matter how you slice it. But my point is that you are again trying to redefine the contents of an article based on something other than what it says or tries to say. Social class is a different discussion entirely.

          We simply do not have the depth of information needed to analyze changes of income in social classes. You would need a depth of data that could identify job categories and pair that with individuals to pull income tax data – and then there would surely be debates as to which class certain jobs belonged. Even assuming such a data compilation would not breach privacy or other laws, with Harper in charge you can forget ever getting the necessary info via census.

          So any comparison has to be based on statistical ranges of salaries – a pure numbers, purely egalitarian exercise.

          • The article is about middle-class incomes. That brings class into it right there.

            And sociology studies have done this long ago

          • But you are applying the wrong definition of “middle class”. The definition that applies here is “those whose earnings fall within the middle fifth quintile.” Not terribly sexy, but if you use the wrong definition you get all confused. It’s like mixing up the “gender” and “activity” meanings of “sex”.

  7. Well, the problem starts right at the beginning in defining the “middle class”. I don’t think of it as the 20% of people right in the middle, with the 40% above and the 40% representing clearly different tiers. I mean, a family making $45,000 is below middle class, and one making $72,000 is above middle class according to these charts. On the other hand, the range of wages in that top 20% is astronomical. You’re lumping in families making $115,000 a year with a CEO making $40 million! I think there’s a better definition for middle class out there, and I also would say that people who want to tax the “rich” don’t mean clamping down on household incomes of $75,000, which are apparently above “middle class”.

    When we carve class in quintiles based purely on grouping population together by income regardless of how steep the actual income disparities are getting, I think you’re not getting the point about how Canadian really feel about “class”. I don’t think a guy making $46,000 thinks of himself as “lower class” and different than the guy making $47,000, which clears the “middle class” hurdle.

    • That’s why class isn’t determined by income alone.

  8. Way to many government programs, government spending, government waste –leads to massive taxation of the working class w hile the elite can shelter income, hide income and write-off income thanks to high price accountants…. It’s time to get serious — why is there public funding for the CBC? That’s a waste of billions. That’s just one example of KABillions being wasted by governments, and the scary thing is that the NDP and Libs would do even worse!! WHOA is Canada.

  9. Who wins elections is more about who picks the ponies with back room money. We have three valid choices with one result, more government, more taxes and less for the middle class. Democracy in Canada is a ruse, government always wins. Ever ask yourself why no one is on the ballot with a record of efficiency, economics and effectiveness? But they all pander with other peoples money, your money.

    Its why public opinion of defective F35s, Air Canada, banks, autos and other bailout buddies of Ottawa sway politicians with lobby money to deceive us. Fact is there is a lot of corruption using our wallets like ATMs.

    While people make more in dollar terms, the goods and services they purchase cost a lot more. People on CPP, OAS, disabled, vets…all getting increases well below inflation.

    We are in a negative value economy. And no mention that fewer people and families now are in the middle class. Heck, you could be in the lowest quartile making $25k/year and be taxed-poor. Yes, I just said in Canada that the lowest poverty level quartile pays income and spend taxes….government tax greed gets everyone, property/utility taxes extra.

  10. Taxation has become modern day slavery as no options on the rigged ballot for less taxation. Even though popular option was against the bank, GM, Chrysler, rusty subs, defective F35s, bombs for Libya, G8 billion plus parties, Air Canda bailouts and more….

    Ottawa ignores us as they can. They know the three options on the ballot amount to the same thing, more taxes and more government bloat.

  11. I don’t know about other people, but I’m not Emily One’s “hon.” So please do not call me that.

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