DISCUSSION: Poor Forever

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Poor Forever (Bloomberg Businessweek, July 9, 2012, p. 50) and The End of Upward Mobility (see Newsweek, 1/26/2009, p. 64).

1) Why do you think America's middle class is slowly dwindling?

Once upon a time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world. The rest of the globe looked at America in envy and wondered what they were doing right. But now everything seems to be going wrong for the middle class. Millions of their jobs have been shipped out of the country and competition for the remaining jobs is keeping wages at depressed levels. Meanwhile, the cost of living just keeps going up and up and middle class budgets are being stretched and strained like never before. Millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty every single year and government dependence is at an all-time high.

Finding a solution to the decline of the middle class is absolutely central to fixing the economic problems in this country. Without a large, thriving middle class this would not be America. The truth is that people from all over the world want to come here because they want to work hard, buy a house, raise a family and provide a better future for their children. This has traditionally been "the land of opportunity", but now the middle class is rapidly declining and none of our politicians seem to have any solutions. With each passing day, the American Dream is slipping through the fingers of millions of hard working American families. We owe it to them to get this thing fixed.

2) Thinking post-recession, can the middle class recover and bounce back within 5 years (i.e., post-recession + 5 years)?

3) In your opinion, what is the primary reason for the inequality in our country?

4) Both articles note that the ladder to upward mobility is disappearing? Why?
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