Who's Budgeting for a Middle Class?

When today's deficit hawks (including, however reluctantly, the president) debate how the nation should tax and invest over the coming decades, they seem to ignore that those priorities could make or break America's future middle class.

For the first time, the majority of Americans believe that their children won't be better off than they are. If current trends continue -- in just a few categories: wages, benefits, retirement income, personal debt, job creation, job quality, job security, and costs for education, child care and health care -- they're absolutely right. So as the lights are dimming on the American Dream, what are America's political leaders doing?

They're tripping over one another to reach for the off switch. That's exactly what the leading deficit reduction plans amount to, according to an analysis we conducted recently at Demos, a non-partisan policy center. In "Budgeting for America's Middle Class," we graded the various budget plans on their impact on working- and middle-class Americans and the result was disheartening. The only legislative budget to get above a "C" -- that issued by the Congressional Progressive Caucus' "People's Budget" -- only garnered 77 votes in the House and is unlikely to come to a vote in the Senate.