[T]he question is better served by how we spend our time, what we consume, and what we worry about, than any measure of income. Income is a poor proxy for measuring inter-temporal changes in consumption, and is only a useful measure of temporal asymmetry.
What is for example, the cost of not fearing the soviet union, the change in crime in Boston and new York?
Conversely, what is the cost of increase in political friction due to immigration? What is the cost of the conflict over Obamacare? What is the cost of maintaining the post-war empire (probably neutral). What is the cost of outsourcing? What is the cost of failing to reform education?
Income is the least important of these measures. And that is precisely why it’s the topic of conversation: because it is the least important but the most emotionally loaded topic. It is an elaborate pseudoscientific distraction for purely political purposes.