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Stagnation Contest

Posted By Russ Roberts On February 29, 2008 @ 10:52 am In Standard of Living | Comments Disabled

Spencer suggests in a recent comment that no one is really claiming that middle class incomes are stagnant and to dispute this claim is to attack a straw man. I don’t think he’s right, though I always appreciate the perspective of our readers who do not agree with everything said here at the Cafe. So I thought we’d have a contest to find examples from the web or the media that make the claim that our standard of living is stagnant or that the middle class can’t get ahead and so on. Or better yet that the middle class is falling behind. Or that all the gains of the last x years have gone to the top 1% or the top 20%.

I’ll kick things off with a quote from Michelle Obama from a recent speech:

And things have gotten progressively worse throughout my lifetime, through Democratic and Republican administrations. It hasn’t gotten better for regular folks.

I saw many versions of this quote in the news and the blogosphere but I struggled to verify it. I found an audio clip here. [1] The quote starts at the 3:55 mark of the clip. To be eligible for the contest, you must provide a URL or verifiable source for the quote. Incidentally, Michelle Obama was born in 1964 but I’ll give her some wiggle room for when she believes the decline in the quality of life for regular folks began.

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