There’s a call from some members of Illinois’ congressional delegation to save the middle class. A study released by the Pew Research Center show the middle class is receiving less of America's total income, declining to its smallest share in decades.
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The report says the roughly 50 percent of adults defined as middle class, with household incomes ranging from $39,000 to $118,000, are suffering the "worst decade in modern history," having fallen backward in income for the first time since the end of World War 2. Who’s to blame? U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) is pointing her finger at Republicans. “You know, I see the Republicans, particularly the House Republicans, engaged in sabotage of any effort that would actually help the middle class,” Schakowsky said. She says there have been plenty of bills that would help the working, middle class that Republicans pass up.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) says it’s time to put more stock in unions. “I think it’s time to stick up for unions,” Quigley said. “I know it’s not always a popular thing to do, but countries that have the strongest unions have a strong middle class and those that want to get rid of unions and minimize the benefits they give and minimize the salaries they give tend to want to eliminate the middle class.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says a plan to increase taxes on those making over $250,000, and tax breaks for those below that mark would help ensure middle-class families survive.
The Pew survey shows that 85 percent of middle-class Americans find it is more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living. Some 62 percent say a lot of the blame lies with Congress. Just 8 percent blame the middle class itself.