…A secure middle class is the cause of growth, not its effect; in fact, our economy cannot reach its full potential without it. And a middle class that lives in constant fear of falling out of the middle class isn’t truly middle class at all.
From 1950 through 1980, during the heyday of the Great American Middle Class, a combination of New Deal programs, a corporate culture of civic responsibility, and a powerful labor movement provided a majority of American workers with health insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, pensions, job security, rising wages, overtime pay, paid vacation, paid sick days, a 40-hour workweek, and access to affordable, high-quality education. These are the benefits that provide the economic security of a decent and dignified life that defines what it means to be middle class, and that led to an unprecedented increase in living standards and economic growth. And under the old economy, they were, and still are, largely provided by one’s employer
…even if trickle-down’s low-tax, low-regulation, benefit-free policies could grow GDP as fast or faster than “middle out”—and they can’t—why would Americans choose that? Why would we choose an America in which just 10 percent of Americans enjoy 100 percent of the rewards of economic growth (as they have since 1980), while the vast majority of middle-class families struggle to remain middle class? For a nation full of Zoes is a nation full of people who simply do not have the time or energy to help their children with their homework, to be good neighbors, or to participate in the civic life of their communities. And a nation full of Zoes simply cannot provide the massive input of innovation and consumer demand that our economy requires of the middle class.
It is important to state that this is not an argument against innovation. We welcome the efficiencies and flexibility that companies like TaskRabbit and Uber bring to the market. But innovation also brings with it disruption, and if we want to preserve the economic security of the American middle class, then we need to respond with an equally innovative set of labor policies. (the emphasis is mine)
We propose a new Shared Security System that endows every American worker with, first, a “Shared Security Account” in which to accrue the basic employment benefits necessary for a thriving middle class, and second, a new set of “Shared Security Standards” that complement and reinforce that account.
One can think of the Shared Security Account as analogous to Social Security, but encompassing all of the employment benefits traditionally provided by a full-time salaried job. Shared Security benefits would be earned and accrued via automatic payroll deductions, regardless of the employment relationship, and, like Social Security, these benefits would be fully prorated, portable, and universal. (again the emphasis is mine)
Capitalism By Nick Hanauer and David Rolf Properly understood, the middle class is the source of all growth and prosperity in a modern technological economy. The American middle class is facing an existential crisis. For more than three decades, declining wages, fraying benefits, and the rising costs of education, housing, and other essentials have stressed and squeezed middle-class Americans.