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¿De verdad están estancados los ingresos de la clase media en los Estados Unidos?

CAMBRIDGE – El imperativo de aumentar los ingresos de las familias de clase media ha surgido como un importante centro de la atención en la campaña para las elecciones presidenciales de los Estados Unidos. Todo el mundo conviene en que los ingresos de las clases altas han aumentado mucho en los últimos decenios, a lo que han contribuido unas recompensas extraordinarias para quienes cuentan con preparación en materia de tecnologías avanzadas  y las subidas de los precios de las acciones. Y existe un apoyo general a la mejora de los programas –como, por ejemplo, los cupones para la obtención gratuita de alimentos y las prestaciones a los jubilados sujetas a la disponibilidad de recursos– que ayudan a quienes, de lo contrario, serían pobres, pero el debate público versa en gran medida sobre cómo ayudar a la más numerosa (y políticamente más importante) clase media.

A este respecto se puede hacer mucho mejorando programas gubernamentales existentes: ampliando la formación relativa a los mercados, aumentando las oportunidades para que las mujeres casadas se incorporen –o vuelvan a hacerlo– a la fuerza laboral, reduciendo las penalizaciones impuestas por la normativa de la Seguridad Social relativa a la continuidad en el empleo de los trabajadores mayores y cambiando la legislación tributaria de modo que aumenten la productividad y los salarios.

Pero, si bien la intensificación de esos programas debería ser una prioridad máxima, no debemos perder de vista lo bien que les ha ido en realidad a las familias de renta media en los últimos decenios. Lamentablemente, el debate político resulta distorsionado por unas estadísticas engañosas que subestiman enormemente esas mejoras.

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