Policy Brief

More than two years after the recession officially ended, 25 million Americans – 16 percent of the labor force – are still out of work or underemployed.1 There are more than four jobseekers for every job opening. 6.2 million people have been out of work for more than six months. While the economic...
09/04/2012
Publication
Education has long been recognized as a primary means of improving one’s economic prospects. Today, a postsecondary degree or certificate has become increasingly necessary for earning a middle-class living. The last two decades have greatly heightened the demand for a highly educated workforce—and...
09/04/2012
Publication
Child care and early education are vital to economic growth and future competitiveness. Working families need access to affordable and high-quality child care and preschool education in order to meet their families’ basic needs. At the same time, investing in child care also meets a national...
09/04/2012
Publication
In today’s economy, families increasingly depend on the incomes of all adults in the household, yet many working people also have responsibilities as parents and caregivers. Public policy has not kept up with the changing workforce: without access to paid leave, employees who need flexibility in...
09/04/2012
Publication
Personal debt can stand as an insurmountable obstacle to Americans wishing to build assets and secure a place in the middle class. In addition to the critical last resort of bankruptcy relief, Americans need fair rules to ensure that lenders – from credit card companies to mortgage lenders to...
09/04/2012
Publication
Household debt is burdening millions of families and stifling economic growth in the nation as a whole. In the first half of 2011, 11 million American households – more than one in five homeowners – owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth.1 Millions of families have already lost...
09/04/2012
Publication
Home ownership is commonly understood as the quintessential marker of having arrived in the middle class: a family’s home is often the single largest asset that they own and has traditionally served as an important vehicle for wealth accumulation and economic security.  Today, however, middle...
09/04/2012
Publication
In 1935, with the passage of the Social Security Act, our national leaders made a promise to all citizens: after a lifetime of hard work, no older American would suffer from poverty in their old age. The passage of this landmark legislation was the embodiment of a deeply shared value: a...
09/04/2012
Publication
Unions were instrumental in creating the American middle class, and today they continue to empower millions of Americans to bargain for wages and benefits that are capable of sustaining a middle-class standard of living. Among workers in similar jobs, unionized employees are significantly more...
09/04/2012
Publication
Just as postsecondary education has expanded opportunities for good jobs and entry into the middle class, college costs are rising beyond the reach of many Americans. State policy decisions are largely responsible for this major cost shift onto students and families. Public investment in higher...
08/19/2012
Publication
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