Let me start out by saying that when Tyler Cowen, Arnold Kling (the first article listed), and Greg Mankiw all mention an article, that should be a clue that it deserves attention. So, here's a HT to all three.
The article, "Has Middle America Stagnated?" by Minneapolis Fed economist Terry J. Fitzgerald, is the first in a series examining the economic progress of middle America since 1975. In this first article, Fitzgerald looks at the dichotomy in various microeconomic measures of well-being, two of which show stagnant wages over the period. In explaining the disparate measures, he talks about measurement. He not only explains difference in what is measured, but points out that the data are adjusted for inflation using different measures. By applying a different, (and in my opinion, a broader and more accurate) measure he gets very different results. He also addresses the difference when using mean and median measures.
Fitzgerald also includes a brief section regarding benefits and their impact as a component of wage. This is part of the value received for labor that, unless it is illustrated, many people forget - especially students. This article is useful for economics (and other) teachers for a number of reasons. It not only provides a way of reconciling different views on the economy. It also helps teachers and students understand how economic performance is measured, along with reminding them about the use of statistics.
This will be an interesting series. I hope you find it interesting, as well. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.