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CHAPTER 2 How We the People Create the Middle Class

On October 19, 2003, the New York Times ran an article about Levi Strauss, the maker of all-American denim jeans.1 After January 2004, Levi’s jeans stopped being made in America. No more American Levi’s. That’s like saying America doesn’t make apple pie anymore.

Does outsourcing Levi’s matter? It matters to Mrs. Flores, who was profiled in the Times article. Mrs. Flores worked for Levi’s for twenty-four years and was a member of her local union. She was making $18 per hour, got four weeks’ paid vacation, and had full family medical and dental benefits for a payment of just $24 per week. Mrs. Flores was in the middle class.

But Mrs. Flores knows she won’t be middle class for long if conservatives ...

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