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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/26/14

It's Time for the US Middle Class to Make a Comeback

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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

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Conservative economic policies are eating middle class Americans alive -- and killing us, too.

For any society to work, people's basic needs have to be met, whether they have a job or not, and whether the economy is in an upswing or a downswing.

As FDR laid out in his Second Bill of Rights, those basic needs include things like access to food, health care, housing, education and gainful employment.

Unfortunately, thanks to 34 years of failed Reaganomics policies, the ability of Americans to meet those most basic of needs has all but disappeared.

A new report out from the Center for American Progress (CAP) highlights just how big a hit America's middle class families have taken from conservative economic policies.

As CAP points out, for a typical middle class married couple with two children, the combined costs of health care, day care, housing and savings for college and retirement increased a staggering 32 percent between 2000 and 2012.

As result, it's become next to impossible for middle class families to do some of the most basic of things, including having a place to call home.

Housing costs have increased 28 percent over the past 12 years, meaning that fewer and fewer families can afford to purchase a home and build equity in it in preparation for retirement.

Americans are also unable to buy a home and take on a mortgage because they're taking 20 years to pay off the mountains of student loan debt they're graduating college with.

While owning a house has become next to impossible for the American middle class, renting a house isn't exactly a bargain either.

Over half of renters in American spend 30 percent or more of their total income on housing, leaving less and less money for other essentials.

Meanwhile, as Americans are struggling to buy homes and start families in them, they're also struggling to save up for their children's college educations.

According to the CAP report, the average amount of money that a middle class family with two kids has to save for college education skyrocketed by 39 percent between 2000 and 2012.

And, the cost of an education from a four-year public college or university increased by a staggering 86 percent during that same time period.

But the high costs of housing and higher education for middle class families pale in comparison to the outrageously high costs of health care in this country.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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