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The Middle Class Bust45:11
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A tip is left by a customer at Linda's Place Restaurant in St. Clair Shores, Mich., in June 2008.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A tip is left by a customer at Linda's Place Restaurant in St. Clair Shores, Mich., in June 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Once upon a time America was known for its post-war economic miracle. The dream of mass upward mobility became reality, and the middle class boomed.

It's easy to forget that these days — with falling home prices, rising unemployment and growing financial insecurity. Yet the government tells us the economy is still growing. So why has that rising tide left so many boats behind? Why are wages flat with the biggest share of growth going only to the very rich?

This hour, On Point: We're asking why the U.S. economy is failing the middle class.
-Anthony Brook, guest host

Guests:

Peter Temin, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is co-author, with Frank Levy, of the 2007 paper “Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America” — a history lesson about how the American Dream was built, and why it has stalled. It has received a lot of attention in policy circles. You can read a summary and discussion of the paper.

Brink Lindsey, vice president for research at the Cato Institute and author of “The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture” (2007).

Steve Liesman, senior economics reporter for CNBC and former senior economics reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

This program aired on September 10, 2008.

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