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|Labor Day Report – America’s Middle Class Needs Our Help|
|News Releases - Business, Economy & Finance|
|Written by Sen. Tom Harkin|
|Tuesday, 06 September 2011 10:59|
As the nation prepares to honor America’s workers this weekend, I wanted to share a report I released today on the decline of America’s middle class and its long-term consequences for our economy. As you’ll see in the report, the problems plaguing the middle class and the broader economy were not brought on just by this recession, but rather through a series of systematic policy decisions put into place over the past 40 years. I believe that rebuilding the middle class needs to be the primary focus of the Congress and that it can only be done by reversing these policy choices.
All the talk in Washington about deficits and spending cuts ignores one simple truth: there will be no sustainable economic recovery without the recovery of the American middle class. Without good-paying jobs with reliable benefits, families will continue to fall behind, and the economy will lag as consumers struggle to survive on shrinking budgets.
As Congress finally turns its focus to how to create jobs and rebuild our economy, we must understand that as the middle class goes, so goes our economy.
Today’s report follows a series of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearings I’ve convened to examine the state of the middle class. We’ve solicited input from economists, the business community, and everyday Americans struggling to maintain a middle class lifestyle. In Iowa, members of my staff have been visiting all 99 counties to gather testimony and insights into the challenges facing middle class families, and I have followed up by holding forums this August in Newton, Mason City, Cedar Rapids, and Council Bluffs.
To read my report, entitled “Saving the American Dream: The Past, Present, and Uncertain Future of America's Middle Class,” and learn more about my HELP Committee hearings and my forums in Iowa, click here: http://harkin.senate.gov/help/
The report shows that the middle class is facing stagnant wages while household costs continue to rise:
While there is no silver bullet to repair the damage done to the middle class by 40 years of poor policy choices, I believe there are several steps the federal government should take to create jobs in the short term and restore our middle class and economic vitality in the long term:
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