If the well-being of the middle-class is the yardstick by which America’s success is measured, then the country is in trouble. There was once a large population of middle-income American families, which stuck out as extraordinary compared to other countries. But in recent years, as developing nations have enjoyed ballooning middle classes, America’s has stalled out.
In a report released by the left-leaning Center for American Progress on Thursday, the researchers Carmel Martin, Andy Green, and Brendan Duke offer suggestions for what the next administration can do to to reestablish the middle class. They argue that workers’ job security and wage growth have become deeply undermined in recent years, as union strength has declined and companies have put creating shareholder value above rewarding and retaining employees.
To restore stability and job security to workers—which would in turn help increase their wages—the study’s authors recommend increasing public infrastructure spending, which they say would create jobs and improve productivity. They also argue for opening up profit-sharing arrangements to a broad array of workers, adjusting a tax deduction that currently allows companies to write off some executive compensation above $1 million, and increasing corporate transparency about stock buybacks, which can artificially move share prices. They advocate for increasing the minimum wage and overtime threshold, strengthening unemployment insurance, and establishing a subsidized job program to help those struggling to find work.