The whole country’s talking about how income inequality is eroding the middle class, but we’re still stuck in hopelessly obsolete thinking about how to stop the slide. Writing in The Atlantic, economics blogger Megan McArdle takes on the conventional wisdom that helping more people have homes and college degrees bolsters the middle class. Houses are worth much less than they used to be, and college degrees can be more of a hindrance than a help to some Americans if they lead to substantial debt. “There are many things we can do to help those who are struggling—whether they are people, regions, or nations. But simply helping them “invest” in a middle class façade shouldn’t be one of them—particularly if they have to borrow the money to buy the costume."
Contrarian Chuck Carlton / Photolibrary-Corbis, Chuck Carlton