In the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama challenged Congress to pursue policies that recognize that a strong middle class is the key driver of economic growth. He stressed that the United States will not have an economy that works until it has one that works for all Americans. At an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, talked about what he's learned from the series of HELP Committee hearings and events on the decline of the middle class, and outlined a policy agenda that puts the middle class first. Senator Harkin's remarks were followed by a panel of distinguished economists and policy analysts exploring how the middle class is a key engine of economic growth. The panelists included:
Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress
Isabel Sawhill, Senior Fellow of Economic Studies, Brookings Institution
John Schmitt, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
A video of the event is available below or after the jump.