Chapter 1THE WAGE SQUEEZE
For years Craig Miller had been a sheet-metal worker at a major airline. After he lost his job in 1992, he and his wife -- parents of four kids -- had to scramble. Craig took on two lower-paying jobs and started a small sideline business. His wife worked nights as a stock clerk. They were patching together, counting his business, four part-time jobs and they were still earning less than half Craig's previous paycheck.
"Sure we've got four jobs," Craig told a reporter. "So what? So you can work like a dog for $5 an hour?"
The Miller family saga is hardly unique. Since the mid-1970s,...