The American middle class is in trouble. Incomes are stagnant or falling, while the costs of life’s necessities continue to rise, and the risks of falling behind grow. The weakness of our middle class is a problem not just for those who are struggling but also for all Americans because a strong middle class is essential for a vibrant democracy and a healthy economy—and for our conception of what America is all about.
"Making Our Middle Class Stronger," a new report from David Madland, describes 35 policies developed by the Center for American Progress that would strengthen our middle class by helping address the challenges Americans face in achieving and maintaining a middle-class standard of living. This report does not tackle every issue of concern to the middle class or address every problem in our economy. Rather, it focuses on the central pocketbook issues facing the middle class: the financial squeeze Americans face because they are caught in a vice between stagnant incomes and weak job prospects on one hand and rising costs and growing risks of paying for middle class basics such as health care, retirement, housing, and a college education for their children on the other.
The 35 policies detailed in the main pages of this report are the kinds of bold, aggressive action that Americans have been waiting for (see summary table starting on next page) such as lower college education costs, workplace standards that match the needs of 21st-century dual-income families, the creation of more wellpaying middle-class jobs, and reliable and sustainable retirement income security.
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