Has the middle class lost a decade?

by Ryan Streeter on October 1, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Pop quiz: Which of the following is true? (a) Over the past 40 years, the middle class has shrunk; (b) Over the past 40 years, the middle class has grown poorer; (c) The middle class just suffered through a “lost decade”; (d) All of the above.

You could be forgiven for answering (d), given the angst-producing state of discourse on the economy, but the truth is that none of these claims about middle-class decline — made most recently by the Pew Research Center (PRC) — are supported by the best evidence.

That’s Scott Winship writing today at National Review. Scott’s done a lot of good work over the past year putting the brakes on the conventional wisdom, which has gained momentum on both side of the political aisle, about the middle class.

Given the play the Pew report Scott critiques has received, it’s worth carefully reading his piece. I’m sure it’ll spark a debate, as most of Scott’s pieces on this topic do.