The New York Times reported that the Canadian middle class is now richer than America's. Given a decade of such U.S. stagnation, it's little wonder that the income gap between previously affluent middle-class Americans and their counterparts in other countries, like Canada, has narrowed. But there's not a lot of satisfaction to be found in our "catching up" mostly because our southern neighbours have fallen back. Celebrating such relative positioning is a bit hollow.
For years, Canada's politicians have wondered who the middle class are and what do they want. This week, we add a fresh question -- are they satisfied with being number one? So now it's our middle class that "appears to be the richest," in the satisfied words of the Globe and Mail. Yet regardless of how sustainable it may be in the long term, having the richest middle class in the world could still prove deeply disruptive for Canada's increasingly middle class-centric political debate -- which exists in no term but the short.
As prosperity spreads and its economy grows there's another 600 million people in China striving to reach middle class status. While this undoubtedly creates challenges for Chinese policy makers, it represents a tremendous economic opportunity for North America, a highly favored destination for Chinese investors.