Twenty years ago, it would have been unthinkable. The Republican Party had spent years crowing about the achievements of entrepreneurs, while advising ordinary workers to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.” Times have changed, however. Quite recently, the right-of-center think tank American Compass, established in 2020,posted “A Guide to Economic Inequality” on the main page of its website. Its founders are not dismissing the problem. Instead, they tell readers that “our economy is failing to spread prosperity” and “our gains are not being widely shared.” The warnings get even more dire. “The longer such trends continue,” warns American Compass, “the greater the threat to our social fabric, our political solidarity, and the legitimacy of our free-market system.”

American Compass is directed by Oren Cass, a former advisor to Mitt Romney, the Republican senator from Utah. He and a growing number of conservatives have become increasingly concerned about the future of American blue-collar labor.

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