News

Michael Hiltzik, “What’s Happened to America’s Middle Class?”

This week, I had the pleasure of attending Michael Hiltzik’s talk at the Athenaeum. As a Pulitzer Prize-winner journalist and author, Hiltzik enriched students and faculty on his findings and views on how the middle class gets squeezed by income inequality and unfair government tax benefits.

Recently, education and housing prices have increased while remuneration in middle class job positions have decreased, moving a significant part of the population down the ladder. Additionally, the middle class continues to get squeezed out of government programs: they make too much to qualify for Obamacare benefits, but too little to afford private health insurance. These incidents have caused the middle class to “lose its foothold on the American dream.”

With the period of extreme instability and doubt that has clouded American politics since Trump’s victory, Hiltzik predicts continued transformations for the middle class. Because this group has been abandoned by the government, its political support is now up for grabs and can define the fate of American politics. The question that remains is: how can we save middle class America and the American dream?