In an article by Financial Post reporter John Shmuel titled “The ‘paycheque to paycheque’ myth: How Canada’s middle class is getting richer, a lot richer”, MLI senior fellow Philip Cross explains that a recent StatsCan report demonstrates that “the middle class isn’t whithering away”, contrary to the politically popular view that middle incomes have stagnated for years. Cross says “It shows Canadians have money to set aside for savings, so it’s not like they are living from paycheque to paycheque, which is the way a lot of the narrative surrounding the middle class has recently been framed.”
Shmuel writes that “the study, released Tuesday, shows the median net worth of Canadian families jumped 44.5% to $243,800 in 2012, up from $168,700 in 2005. Over the past 15 years, the median net worth figure leaps 80%. The numbers are adjusted for inflation and measure the amount of money left over if all debts were paid and all assets were sold”.
“I would say that that contradicts the idea that all the wealth in the last decade was hoarded by the 1% and the rest of us are fighting over table scraps,” said Cross.
Also in the Post, in a column titled “Trudeau, Mulcair need to convince middle class Canadians their life sucks”, Kelly McParland writes that the same StasCan study poses a problem for the leaders of the federal Liberal and New Democratic parties who are campaigning on the notion that the middle class is “endangered species, struggling to keep its head above water”. McParland writes: “Both Mulcair and Trudeau are adamant that life sucks for middle-class Canadians, and it’s all the Conservatives’ fault. They can’t afford houses, they’re maxed out on their credit cards, they’re struggling with the bills, their children’s future is bleak, and they haven’t got a penny put away for retirement (much less a safe and reliable pension)” but he quotes MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley who notes in a July 2013 Globe and Mail column that “Since 1998, income growth for the middle and lower classes nearly matched the increase for top earners.”