Society: How can policymakers help the struggling middle class? (Bild: OECD)
“Today the middle class looks increasingly like a boat in rocky waters,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in New York with Luis Felipe Lopéz-Calva, Assistant Secretary General, Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme, writes the OECD.
“Governments must listen to people’s concerns and protect and promote middle class living standards. This will help drive inclusive and sustainable growth and create a more cohesive and stable social fabric.”Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa overseeing the Organisation’s work on Inclusive Growth, presented in more details the main findings of the report, saying “our analysis delivers a bleak picture and a call for action.
The middle class is at the core of a cohesive, thriving society. We need to address their concerns regarding living costs, fairness and uncertainty.”The cost of a middle class lifestyle has increased faster than inflation.
Housing, for example, makes up the largest single spending item for middle-income households, at around one third of disposable income, up from a quarter in the 1990s. House prices have been growing three times faster than household median income over the last two decades.To help the middle class, a comprehensive action plan is needed, according to the OECD.
Governments should improve access to high-quality public services and ensure better social protection coverage. To tackle cost of living issues, policies should encourage the supply of affordable housing.
Targeted grants, financial support for loans and tax relief for home buyers would help lower middle-income households. In countries with acute levels of housing-related debt, mortgage relief would help overburdened households get back on track..
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