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The Vanishing Middle Class48:22
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photoPoliticians in both parties invoke the middle class, claiming to speak for the heart of the country. But today's American middle class is running out of steam and out of options.

Between 1973 and 2003, even as wives poured into the workforce for second incomes, middle class household income rose just 22 percent, while the income of the top 1 percent of Americans doubled and that of the top 0.1 percent tripled.

Government and employment-based benefits have gone down. Economic risk and expenses like childcare, college tuition, and housing, have soared up. Money still talks in Washington, but the financially-strapped and stressed-out American middle is sounding fainter.

Tune in for a discussion on the vanishing middle class and what it means to democracy, culture and civil society in America.

Guests:

David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New York Times and author of "Perfectly Legal"

Jacob Hacker, assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University and author of "The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on June 10, 2005.

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