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Noah Smith

The Middle Class Risks Consuming Itself

Health care and education employ a lot of people and sell services they increasingly can’t afford.

We all care for one another.

We all care for one another.

Photographer: SIA KAMBOU/AFP

Americans are increasingly anxious about the costs of services such as health care and education. But these are the very same industries that increasingly sustain the middle class. Resolving this paradox is the key to creating the economy of the future.

It's not much of a surprise to note that prices for most physical goods have dropped, but the cost of big-ticket services have become much higher: