The middle class is doomed.
You may have heard of that internal Conservative Government report on the middle class prepared by Employment and Social Development Canada even though it was never released.
The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to get a copy and it’s mostly remarkable due to some of its blunt take-aways:
“The market does not reward middle-income families so well,” says the report. “As a result, they get an increasingly smaller share of the earnings pie” compared with higher-income families.
The report also refers to debt, saying “many in the middle spend more than they earn, mortgaging their future to sustain their current consumption.”
“Over the medium term, middle-income Canadians are unlikely to move to higher income brackets, i.e., the ‘Canadian dream’ is a myth more than a reality.”
Well it turns out that there’s another way to look at the same data, as Finance Canada has just done.
“Their analysis arrives at conclusions — namely that middle-income families have stagnant wages, are unlikely to move to higher income groups, and are increasingly indebted — which appear to conflict with the general message in Budget 2014 and previous internal briefings,” says an accompanying briefing note for Oliver.
The new report points out that moving from single earner to double earner households as more women have joined the workforce has acted to keep the middle class afloat.
The Finance Canada report estimates about 70 per cent of the increase in middle-class household incomes since the mid-1990s can be attributed to higher workforce participation rates, primarily by women workers.
“There is no second wave of women, spouses, entering the workforce,” said New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, the opposition’s finance critic.
Of course the MP is being overly pessimistic without cause, there’s an obvious next wave of income for households and it doesn’t require polygamy.
The children are our future.
It’s time for Canada to get in line with global economic trends and fully utilize the productivity of the available workforce. We have a large population of potential workers that remain untapped.
Instead of wasting tax dollars and time in school, children could be gaining valuable experience cleaning homes, mining coal or any number of other jobs to help support the household. Lets not squander this bright future opportunity, let’s put the kids to work!