March 26, 2009

Testimony of Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President, Pew Research Center to the Senate Finance Committee

Before the Great Recession, a Phantom Recovery

I. Overview

Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Grassley and members of this Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify at this hearing on middle class tax relief, and allow me to make one thing clear at the outset: I am not a tax policy expert. Nor am I an economist, though I have colleagues who are. I am appearing before you today as the principal author of a report the Pew Research Center released last year entitled, “Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life.” The report combines findings of one of our major national public opinion surveys with the Center’s analysis of four decades of demographic and economic trends from the Census Bureau and other sources.

The Pew Research Center does not take positions on policy issues. We are a nonpartisan “fact tank” that generates information we hope will be of value to policymakers. My testimony today summarizes and updates some of the key findings of our 169 page report. Among them: