Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress today released a bold new agenda of innovative policies that would strengthen our nation by helping address the challenges Americans face in achieving and maintain a middle-class standard of living. The policy recommendations will be the subject of discussion at an event today featuring Gene Sperling, Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Bobby Scott, Austan Goolsbee, among other distinguished experts.
“These policies work to transform the middle class into 300 million engines of economic growth,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “It’s through strengthening the middle class that America prospers and maintains its economic edge.”
Outlined in a report titled “Making Our Middle Class Stronger,” the 35 policy recommendations cover a wide range of issues, including higher education, job training, workplace standards, retirement, health care, housing, gas prices, child care, and infrastructure. Most of the policies in the report would produce multiple benefits and address more than one aspect of the challenges facing America’s middle class. Together, the 35 policies will:
- Ensure that middle-class families pay only 15 percent of their income to send their children to college
- Reduce the cost of saving for retirement by nearly half, compared to a typical 401(k) plan
- Lower mortgage payments for millions of families by an average of $2,600 a year
- Restore 500,000 teaching jobs
- Create more than 2 million jobs rebuilding and upgrading our infrastructure
- Guarantee workers access to paid sick days and maternity leave
- Increase access to higher education and job training
Despite conventional wisdom that the wealthiest are the ones to drive the economy, a recent CAP analysis provided evidence that a strong middle class is the real engine of our country’s economy, creating the conditions for families to invest in their children, for businesses and entrepreneurs to take flight, and for quality governance of a strong, stable economy.
The recommendations included in the report go well beyond immediate job-creation policies. That is because the middle class was significantly weakened long before the Great Recession hit. Middle-class Americans for decades have faced stagnant wages, rising costs and risks, and declining mobility. And long after unemployment returns to more normal levels, the middle class will still face these same basic problems unless policies such as those outlined in this report become a reality.
Read the report: Making Our Middle Class Stronger: 35 Policies to Revitalize America’s Middle Class by David Madland
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