US Maternity Leave is Messed-Up; Middle-class is Shrinking and Income Inequality is the Culprit; Bad Non-Union Jobs Might Be Killing People

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We all know the middle-class is in deep trouble. But maybe you didn't know why many haven't really noticed until recently. That's because until 2000, Americans moved up and out of the middle class, which is not the case anymore. The percent of working people who have dropped out of the middle-class has increased significantly, which is why more and more people are visiting food pantries and  are forced to rely on public assistance.
Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up - New York Times

"I have trouble diagnosing just what went wrong in that odyssey from sleek distance runner to his death at 54, but the lack of good jobs was central to it," said Nickolas Kristof, New York Times. Kevin who worked hard and benefited from good middle-class union jobs, until many of those jobs went down the drain and Kevin hurt his back. Because Kevin hurt his back, he was laid off and forced to go on disability.   
Where’s the Empathy? - New York Times

In the US, disability is oftentimes used as an alternative to paid maternity leave and if you're lucky, your employer will offer paid maternity leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act is weak, women are eligible for unpaid leave up to 12 weeks if they're full-time employees for a company with 50 or more employees, which excludes many women working two part-time jobs.   
Can the U.S. Ever Fix Its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System? - Bloomberg Business



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The great American middle class wasn’t something that just happened – it was built brick by brick. It was built by soldiers returning from war and a government that repaid them by giving them a shot at college.