But the parameters of the debate about our dire economic straits has been disappointingly narrow, leaving out some of the most pressing issues facing tens of millions of Americans.
If national leaders are serious about reviving the economic fortunes of our struggling middle class, the unemployed and the growing ranks of the working poor, they would do well to take a long, hard look at the new report, “10 Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class for Hard-Working Americans: Making Work Pay in the 21st Century.” Released today by a consortium of two dozen organizations across the country, the report is a clarion call for a set of policies that are largely off the radar screen of both major parties. This deafening silence notwithstanding, the prospect of a true economic recovery that restores the promise of broadly shared prosperity is nearly inconceivable without the adoption of most of these proposals.
For example: Can we really address the epidemic of working poverty without fixing the minimum wage? Do we stand a chance of rebuilding the middle class if we don’t strengthen the right to join a union? Is there even a possibility of preserving the American Dream if we don’t do something to counter the evisceration of retirement benefits?
The answers to these questions is No. Much to its credit, “10 Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class for Hard-Working Americans” is no whiny broadside, but rather more of a constructive prescription for concrete changes that will make life better for the vast majority of Americans.
Are you listening, esteemed leaders?