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America’s Middle Class at Risk—Here’s Why

Source: AFL-CIO

America’s middle class is at risk—as demonstrated by increased personal bankruptcies, record levels of debt and growing job instability. Meanwhile, the nation’s safety net is shredding at the public level—with the latest Bush administration budget proposal set to further slash critical social programs—as well as in the private sector, where employers are backing away from providing health care, pensions and family-supporting wages.

“Families are experiencing much more income instability since the 1970s, and over the last 20 years, the increase in [economic] volatility is roughly the same for the educated and those with less education,” says Jacob Hacker, political science professor at Yale University.

Hacker was among five top policy analysts meeting recently in Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion on The Middle Class at Risk: Economic Insecurity in America Today, sponsored by the nonprofit
Center for American Progress.

“Today, job loss is increasingly likely to be persistent. Workers are less often able to return to a similar job in a similar industry, so unemployment frequently ends only when workers accept a new job that requires major cuts in pay, hours, or both,” Hacker says. (MORE >>>)


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