The Comeback: Defining the American Middle Class in Recession

That's where the roads in America today seem to diverge. Millions of jobs have been lost and millions more homes are under water, with 25 percent of their value lost, on average. All that bad economic news has hit middle class families hard, even as the banks that caused the financial crisis took $204 billion in bailout money to generate $6 billion in profits in just 3 months.

Warren's, Oversight Panel, the group in charge of overseeing and examining the financial bailout, says it's time for the banks to demonstrate that we're all in this together in America. If not, consumers will have to find their way out on their own.

"The notion of a solid middle class that can withstand some really hard blows, it's just not there anymore. If we lose the middle class, we are a different country," Warren said. "I don't know what country that is, but it's a country with a large, rich population and then just a long, gray line of people who are constantly turning over, living job-to-job, paycheck-to-paycheck, illness-to-illness, moving up and down that line."

That country, she says, is not America.

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PHOTO: Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison attend the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Inaugural Gala presented by Salvatore Ferragamo at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 17, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Stefanie Keenan/Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts/Getty Images for Wallis Annenber