U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been railing about the shrinking middle class for years, but until now, he didn’t know the extent of the problem. But after appealing to his constituents to tell their stories of economic hardship, he got more than 800 responses that outlined in heart-wrenching personal detail how hard some have it these days.
Sanders says the number blew him away, as did the poignancy and pain expressed in them, especially since they were middle-class working people.
He published the responses in a booklet, and has read many of them on the floor of the U.S. Senate in Washington, hoping to drive home his point that under the Bush administration, millions of American have slipped into poverty and despair because of White House policies.
He says the decline of the middle class has been taking place for years, but that the rising price of gas has pushed people off the economic cliff.