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Strengthening America’s middle class should be elected officials’ top priority. Incomes are either stagnant or falling for the middle class, while the costs of life’s necessities continue to rise. As a result, the risk of the middle class falling behind economically is growing. A weak middle class hurts all of us by stifling our country’s economic growth and undermining our democracy.
Unfortunately, reducing the deficit has distracted our political leaders from this pressing challenge and has made it seem like little can be done, as Congress blocked or failed to act on important legislation to help the middle class. In reality, however, there are many things that the federal government can do to help the middle class.
Rather than make excessive short-term budget cuts as we are currently doing, we can and should make needed investments in the middle class, such as expanding access to preschool and child care, as part of a package that reduces the deficit over the longer term, as CAP has proposed on many occasions. Furthermore, there are a number of things that policymakers can do that won’t require any additional expenditures.This article was originally published in .