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The Exchange

What to Make of the Middle Class?


For a long time, 'middle class' meant 'comfortable'.  It was a place to strive for and once there, it meant a stable job, a nice home and secure retirement.  But a recent study by the Pew Research Center describes a 'Lost Decade' of the Middle Class, finding this groups to be fewer, poor and gloomier due to the economic crisis. According to the study, 85% of them now say it's more difficult to maintain their standard of living, but others say that this dilemma has been overstated and that persistent poverty is the real problem, rather than a beleaguered middle class.  Today we'll look into the middle class and how they are being talked about in this election.


  • Charlie Arlinghaus – President of the Josiah Bartlett Center For Public Policy, a free-market think tank based in Concord.
  • Dennis Delay – Economist for the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies and New Hampshire Forecast Manager for the New England Economic Partnership
  • Andy Smith – Director of the UNH Survey Center and Associate Professor of Political Science at UNH