“Income inequality isn’t new, but it’s the new economic issue of the campaign season. Presidential candidates in both parties are addressing it in speeches (though with different prescriptions to narrow the wealth gap). The question has entered into legislative debates in both Congress and the states, on issues ranging from tax cuts to raising the minimum wage, imposing conditions on government assistance dollars, or giving the president fast-track authority to negotiate an international trade pact. And struggling Americans are looking at the top earners and wondering: is the American Dream dead?,” writes Susan Milligan in U.S. News.
A Gallup poll released this week shows that Americans are feeling increasingly in economic retreat. Barely half (51 percent) now consider themselves as being part of the middle or upper classes, compared to an average of 61 percent during 2000-08. A full 48 percent say they are now in the working or lower classes.