The Fraser Institute guest column The Myth of Stagnant Incomes is pure claptrap.
It attempts to create the impression incomes for the average Canadian have not stagnated by showing that an unrelated fact is true.
There has always been income mobility for Canadians, and that has no bearing at all on stagnant income levels. If an individual is mobile within a range of available incomes, it does not follow that income levels have not stagnated.
I will use the analogy of a building (available real income levels) and an elevator (income mobility).
It's 1987, and you take the elevator to the top, and you get to the 100th floor. There are 102 floors, but the elevator only goes to 100.
Every other year or so, the panel of buttons changes (inflation) and you find when you get in, that you really only get to the 99th floor, then the 98th floor, etc. when you press the button to go to the top. You still go up in the elevator, but by 2012 it only goes to the 60th floor.
Government figures show that from 1987 to 2007, income levels for the lowest quintile of the population rose by only 7.3 per cent, and for the upper quintile by 30 per cent (a number that is skewed upward by the top two per cent).
The same government report admits that income inequality has grown steadily since 1980.
Factoring for inflation, income levels should have risen a lot more.
Direct comparisons are difficult as the 1980s were characterized by very high mortgage rates and higher income tax rates. However, a reasonable guess at the adjustment would be that income levels should have risen on the order of 50 per cent over the 1987-2007 period. Thus, every quintile of income has fallen behind, let alone held its own (stagnated).
So why would the Fraser Institute support such a blatant red herring, stating that income levels have not stagnated because of mobility within stagnating and falling real income levels?
I'm not sure, but if you follow the money, it is of note that the Fraser Institute gets substantial funding from folks like the Koch brothers of Koch Industries oilsands repute.
It smells of pure propaganda.