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Press release/statement

Demos Applauds Chairman Tom Harkin For Raising Alarm On "Disappearing Middle Class"

Washington DC – In an important hearing today on the future of America’s middle class, Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee made the case for greater public investment, fairer tax policy, and better job creation to stimulate economic growth and support working Americans. Demos, a national public policy research and advocacy center, supports the effort, as families continue to reel from the recession and high unemployment.

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“Americans are working harder for less,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the HELP Committee. “Over the past 30 years, real wages have remained stagnant or even declined for all except the richest Americans, while worker productivity increased by 80 percent. Too many people dismiss this disturbing trend as a symptom of the recession, rather than recognizing that this dramatic change in our economy is the result of decades of deliberate policy choices.”

Read “America’s Endangered Middle Class” Report:
As austerity budgeting gains favor in Washington, Demos has published a report card, “Budgeting for America’s Middle Class,” that evaluates the most prominent budget proposals against the crucial middle class priorities outlined by Sen. Harkin, including job creation, increased public investments, and responsible deficit reduction. 

Unfortunately, the report card found that proposals like those from Rep. Paul Ryan and the Erskine-Bowles Deficit Commission fail to meet the proven fiscal strategies that shore-up the financial security of America’s middle class. 

“It is long past time for Congress to raise the alarm that we are losing middle-class America,” said Heather McGhee, Director of Demos’ Washington, D.C. office. “Amid the noise about cutting spending on the Hill, Sen. Harkin’s hearing today made it clear that improving the well-being of working families through good jobs and public investment will be crucial to restoring demand and spurring economic recovery.”
 “Demos congratulates Sen. Harkin for shedding light on this important element of the recovery and encourages all lawmakers to consider the middle class in making budgetary decisions for the future.”

Demos and its publishing partner The American Prospect magazine also highlighted the imperiled future of this social class in a March, 2011 special report entitled “America’s Endangered Middle Class.” 

For more information on budget priorities and rebuilding the middle class, visit , or Demos’ blog To schedule an interview, see contact information.