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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: 16 Policies to Help Rebuild the Middle Class
Press Release

RELEASE: 16 Policies to Help Rebuild the Middle Class

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Washington, D.C. – Today the Center for American Progress released of list of 16 policy ideas to help rebuild the middle class that should also become part of the national debate. Increasingly the Obama administration is zeroing in on a strong middle class as integral to the vitality of the American economy as a whole. The State of the Union address coming next Tuesday will be another opportunity to emphasize middle-class-led growth and to mention additional policy measures.

The 16 reforms do not come close to rebalancing the scales of the economy between the wealthy and the 99 percent. They do, however, fit into a larger agenda to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and ensure that the economy works for everyone. The ideas—some modest, others more sweeping—can spur middle-class-led growth but have not received the attention or support they deserve.

The 16 policies identified by CAP that will help rebuild the middle class include:

1. Get young people into jobs so they can be working Americans

2. Let the aging unemployed retire with dignity

3. Expand the federal “jobs accelerator” program

4. Create a common application for federal programs for entrepreneurs

5. Reward students who work their way through college with increased access to federal student aid

6. Save tuition costs for students by awarding them college credit for proven knowledge

7. Automatically connect student-loan repayments to post-college pay levels for new college graduates

8. Create a web-based national career-guidance system to help workers navigate career advancement, education and training, and connect with future employers

9. Boost the earnings of workers and provide a greater incentive for firms to hire new workers by making more workers eligible for overtime pay

10. Help all middle-class working parents afford decent child care by improving the existing child and dependent care tax credit

11. Help middle-class families caring for aging parents by expanding the existing dependent tax credit to include a credit for eldercare expenses when the relative does not live with the taxpayer

12. Enact a Consumer Bill of Rights for mortgage customers that would create consumer protections and standards for mortgage servicers to protect homeowners and ensure stability in the housing market

13. Fight rising gas prices by helping consumers spend less on gas

14. Help middle-class families and small businesses fight the high cost of energy by making their homes and small commercial properties more energy efficient

15. Require companies that offer their CEOs “golden parachutes” in their contracts to offer strong severance packages to their other employees in the event of layoffs

16. Stop subsidizing excessive levels of CEO pay

Read the column: A Sweet 16 to Build a Strong Middle Class: Policies to Strengthen the Foundation of Our Economy

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