Wage Growth 2003-2008: A reply to John Rentoul
The last few years have several big, landmark events in my life – getting married, buying a house, having my first child. This morning I experienced another whilst on my way to the IFS’s excellent presentation on their important findings on wages and productivity, when I became the subject of one of John Rentoul’s “Questions to Which the Answer is No” blog posts.
Yesterday I took issue with Rentoul’s claim that the current pressure on living standards is simply a result of the recession, pointing that the problem existed well before the crash. He has responded disputing this.
He again offers a chart on mean expenditure and questions the relevance the Resolution Foundation figures I cited. He also writes that:
I hesitate to go back into the debate about the inequality of incomes, but most incomes have become slightly more equally distributed over the past 20 years, while the above-average increases of the top 1 per cent means that overall inequality has been roughly stable. So there is no big difference between the direction of growth of mean and median disposable incomes.
Hence he lists,”Did rising prosperity end for most people in 2003?” as a queston to which the answer is no (QTWTAIN).*
I’m afraid I still disagree and at risk of getting into a “chart war”, I would simply point to the below chart from the IFS presentation this morning.
Rentoul ends by noting that:
I really cannot understand why the TUC, the Resolution Foundation and (sometimes) the Labour leadership should want to use statistics selectively to suggest that people on middle incomes had a hard time during the golden Blair years 2003 to 2007.
To which I’m tempted to ask, why is Mr Blair’s biographer is so keen to tell us that was fine until 2007?
*On a technicality I’m not sure I’m really worthy of a QTWTAIN, as I never actually asked the question…