RELEASE: CAP Action Outlines State Policies to Rebuild America’s Middle Class
Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress Action Fund released an agenda of state policies necessary to rebuild America’s middle class. The recommendations outlined in the report would create a significant number of jobs, boost incomes for a large percentage of the population, meaningfully cut costs for middle-class necessities, considerably lower the risks of falling behind, and boost opportunity and fair treatment for all.
“Every level of government has a critical role to play in rebuilding the American middle class and getting our nation back on track to broadly shared prosperity,” said Karla Walter, co-author of the report and Associate Director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “While much attention is paid to the federal government, states retain significant powers, and their actions have a major impact on people’s lives. From providing essential infrastructure and fostering economic activity, to providing for the general health and well-being of their residents, state leaders have the power implement policies that provide everyone with the opportunity to thrive.”
The report, entitled “States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class,” presents policies that states can adopt to help those who are currently in or near the middle class, as well as those who are struggling to join the middle class. This will help restore the idea that if you work hard, you can achieve the good life, exemplified by a secure paycheck that grows year after year, a nice home in a safe neighborhood with decent schools, retirement savings, health care, some leisure time to spend with friends and family, and the ability to send your kids to college and pass along a bigger share of the American Dream.
The report includes more than 100 policy reforms to:
- Improve the quality of existing jobs
- Ensure civil rights are respected so that everyone can fully participate in the economy
- Reform the tax code so that it raises sufficient revenue fairly and efficiently
- Stabilize the housing market, ensure affordable rental housing, and help rebuild communities affected by the foreclosure crisis
- Improve the quality of education for all students
- Ensure affordable, quality health care for all
- Rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure
- Strengthen local communities
“The evidence is clear. The failed philosophy of trickle-down economics only helped the most wealthy while severely hurting the middle class and weakening our economy,” said Tom Hucker, Maryland State Delegate and co-author of the report. “Now is the time for a new framework to guide our nation’s economic growth, and state governments have a tremendous role to play in charting a better course. By adopting the proposals outlined in this report, state leaders will rebuild America’s middle class by restoring the American ideals of fairness, equality and opportunity.”
“The American dream is based on the idea that working families deserve security, safety and opportunity for their children,” said Héctor J. Figueroa, President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, the largest property services union in the country. “We have a responsibility as a society to keep the pathway to the middle class clear of unfair obstacles so that working people have access to good jobs with benefits, quality healthcare, affordable housing, and a decent education. This report shows that states’ efforts to protect working families have a powerful and positive impact, and should be expanded and encouraged.”
Read the full report: States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class by Karla Walter, Tom Hucker, and David Madland
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