How about the “vanishing middle class?” To say that the middle class is vanishing, one must have a definition of the middle class. A sensible person would probably define it as the group of people in the middle, say the middle quintile or the middle three quintiles. But that’s not how the commentators who have made the claim have defined the middle class. Instead, they take the group of people making income within a fixed range in inflation-adjusted dollars, say, between $35,000 and $50,000, and show that the percent of the overall number of families within this range is falling. In commenting on this way of defining the middle, Reynolds points out an obvious but, nevertheless, often completely overlooked fact:
“Such a fixed definition ensures that the proportion of households in the middle group must decline with a rise in general prosperity, because rising prosperity causes a rising percentage of families to earn more than $50,000.” (emphasis his)
Paul Krugman’s been using lies, damn lies, and statistics to distort the truth about the economy. It was about time someone called him on it.