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Middle class has shrunk for awhile

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By Sherry Robinson

When we were house hunting, the Realtor told us there was great demand for high-end homes and starter homes and a lot less need for those in the middle, so we had quite a selection.
That was 1999 and my first hint that the middle class was in trouble.
Candidates have made the middle class a hot campaign issue, so I went looking for information. It was hard to find anything not tainted with political spin.
A 2011 study from the leftish Center for American Progress catalogued the Romney-Ryan budget’s hit on programs relied on by the middle class. New Mexico, for example, would lose $30 million from highways in 2013 alone.
From the right, a Forbes article last week blamed blue states’ tax policies for their ills. Both studies are notably shallow, their conclusions predictable.
Economists and politicians agree that the middle class is squeezed, but discussions tend to fit in sound bites and bumper stickers.
Last week, the news website GlobalPost.com published an ambitious portrait of the endangered middle class, “America the Gutted,” that gathered all the threads – trade policy, automation, globalization, business trends, consumerism, and tax policy. I divine a little attitude, but for the most part the stories are balanced and don’t endorse any candidates.


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