Rich Nations Plagued With Economic Stagnation Risk Populist Hell, OECD Warns

Friday, April 12, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 04/12/2019

As capitalism continues to lift millions of people out of dire poverty around the world, ironically, the most advanced nations are mired in an era of stagnation that has inflamed populists on the left and right and revived the specter of socialism, which has reportedly lost its stigma among milennials.

Fortunately, the OECD, a grouping of the 36 wealthy nations, has added its voice to the chorus of “millionahs and billionahs” who believe they have found the solution to the worsening economic plight of the unwashed masses. To wit, the organization published a report on Wednesday warning that the simmering sense of financial uncertainty that inspired many members of the American middle class to vote for Donald Trump isn’t some made up phenomenon, like some of the president’s political rivals have insisted. Across the developed world, low- and middle-class people are struggling with stagnant income growth, rising lifestyle costs and unstable jobs, which the organization warned risks fueling “political instability” should these problems go unchecked. Meanwhile, the costs of housing and education were rising faster than inflation and middle-income jobs faced an increasing threat from automation.

Gabriela Ramos, OECD chief of staff, said this economic storm would push voters further into the arms of populist parties espousing policies like protectionism and other anti-establishment policies. Ramos said stagnating incomes and unstable career prospects “fueled perceptions that the current socio-economic system is unfair and that the middle class has not benefited from economic growth in proportion to its contribution.”

“Today the middle class looks increasingly like a boat in rocky waters,” he said.

Over the last 30 years, middle-class incomes have grown far slower than upper class incomes, while the proportion of the American population that qualifies as “middle class” has fallen by about 5 percentage points. Now, only 51% of Americans are considered ‘middle class’. Across OECD member states, incomes for the middle class haven’t risen in a decade, even as the cost of education, health-care and housing have risen rapidly (but remember: The Fed can’t find any evidence of inflation in the economy).

Today, both parents in a household need to work for it to qualify as middle class. Thirty years ago, families could get by on just one.

The Rest…HERE

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