For the past 30 years, the wages of media workers have remained flat while the wages and wealth of the top one percent have skyrocketed, giving rise to the notion that there is serious middle-class stagnation in the U.S. But is there really? A pair of economists recently argued that middle-class stagnation is a myth. The Consumer Price Index—a standard gauge of inflation—underestimates the value of improvements in product quality and variety (today’s MP3 players are not yesterday’s tape decks). Costly benefits such as health insurance don’t get added into wage figures, and life for middle-class America is simply better now than it has been before, with longer lives and a smaller percentage of total pay going toward basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and transport.

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