On The Job: Running Hard Just to Keep Up

Faster and faster they go, harder and harder they push, but like hamsters on a wheel, America's working families are stuck at the bottom. Clobbered on two fronts, they must work twice as hard to stay even. On the income side, wages have gone down while taxes have risen. On the expenditure side, living costs have soared. Homes, health insurance, college education -- the basic ingredients of the American Dream -- are increasingly out of reach.

The crunch began with a dramatic falloff in earnings, particularly for blue- collar males. Between 1955 and 1973, the median wage of men leaped from...

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