Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Growing a Middle Class

"Therefore, access to good quality jobs--employment opportunities with fair compensation and stable benefits--is a key factor insolving the middle-class squeeze and building a stable middle class."

Annual Report of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, February 2010.

Just in case you forgot, the Task Force's definition of middle class family,a couple with two children,ranges between $51,000 and 122,800.I love this chart: ..."Price Changes in Key Middle Class Items: 1990-2008." Such items include housing, health care, and college.

There is a lot of talk about pathways, middle-class squeeze, etc in this document, but almost nothing about how low-income, low-skilled people get into the middle class. It seems like you have to be there, recently lost ground, or are close to getting there to begin with. Of course,embedded in various job opportunities, financing mechanisms, and tax credits are resources and opportunities relevant and helpful for a wideer swathe of people. That's good. And,I must say, the report, task force, and administration have produced a powerful array of investment strategies on the demand and supply sides.

But what about the millions of people with literacy challenges and are stuck in low-paying jobs or no jobs at all? I just don't see it here. There's a lot to be said for protecting the middle class,etc but what about growing a middle class? It seems to me that that goal should be right up there for the U.S.

Maybe we need a: Task for Those Who Want to Join the Middle Class But Have a Long Way To Go.

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