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In the last two decades, the income and security of the individual middle class worker has declined and the gap between the middle class and the wealthy has widened. We explain how this is bad for democracy, the economy, and the aggregate health of the nation. We examine the governmental policies and interventions that increased the middle class following the depression and maintained its vigor through the post-World War II period. The impetus for these changes in governmental policies in the 1930s was to end the Great Depression. We pose the question of whether a nation can recover from a depression without invigorating the middle class. We conclude that in order to recover from the current economic and financial crisis, the middle class must be strengthened.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare and has been posted here with the permission of the authors, editor, and publisher.