States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

Source: Karla Walter, Tom Hucker, and David Madland, with Nick Bunker and David Sanchez, Center for American Progress, March 2013

From the summary:
As our country inches its way out of the Great Recession and looks toward the future, it is clear that we need a new framework to guide our economic growth. The old trickle-down economic model of the past several decades is failing nearly everyone, save those at the very top. Incomes have been stagnating, inequality has deepened, and it has become harder to gain a foothold in the middle class. …

… Good government at every level—local, state, and federal—can play a critical role in rebuilding the American middle class and getting the country back on track to broadly shared prosperity. Our full report, “States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class,” focuses on what states can do. State governments have tremendous power and responsibility in the American political system. Adoption of the proposals in this report will help states fulfill their obligation to significantly improve the lives of residents.

The report 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—helping 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 to them a bigger share of the American Dream. …