"Focusing on income levels while ignoring other factors can only lead to a skewed assessment of citizen well-being. But perhaps the time has come for those of us on the left to acknowledge that plunging average income is no longer something we can simply shrug off. Sure money isn't everything, but declines in income, set against a cultural background of relentless wealth-celebration, can't help but generate relative poverty. Poverty creates envy. And envy, felt consistently and acutely enough, leads to many other social ills we cannot so easily ignore, like crime and riots and beggars on the street."