Am I the only one who thinks that the notion of "the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer" is kind of ridiculous? The definition of "poor" or "middle-class" is completely arbitrary and is made even more useless when comparing different times in history. Why? Because a "middle-class" family in 1950 had like 1 car, a small house and 1 color TV. Now a middle-class family tries to have at least 2 cars, a McMansion and several flat-screens. How do you control for the gains in consumer standard of living? For instance, the fact that TVs keep getting bigger and more expensive doesn't necessarily mean that the "middle-class" labeled family should be able to spend the same proportionate income on such an item precisely because they are not anywhere close to the same item. They have now increased the standard of living. So, exactly how is it that the poor are getting poorer?
This comment made me smile. I don't know what a typical middle-class family looks like in the States (especially without any supporting studies), but in Europe a family with more than 1 car and 1 television is considered to be pretty well-off
Therefore I have a hard time imagining that a middle-class family anywhere in the world would aim for 2 cars and multiple flat-screen TVs. But then again it's hard to tell without knowing the country.
The key operative word here is "tries" to have....doesn't mean they get it nor can they, increasingly, actually afford it (see: IOUSA.) However, I was being facetious in my description, which I thought was obvious. The larger point though is that the definition of middle-class is completely arbitrary anyway.