I often cite Cox and Alm's Myths of the Rich and Poor
when getting students to think about the poverty stats and the general hand-wringing over how bad things are. Most people take little time to reflect on the stunning differences between their own material wealth and that of their ancestors. Comparing the time it took the average worker to earn enough to buy a 3-lb chicken 100 years ago and now is a place to start.
Some of this is updated at this
post at Carpe Diem.
The post's bottom line is worth repeating.
Bottom Line: As much as we hear about declines in median income, economic stagnation, the disappearance of the middle class, falling real wages, increasing income inequality, the data tell a much different story: The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting richer.