In recent weeks, folks on the left — most notably the president and his cheerleaders in Congress and on liberal cable news — have been busy spinning a tale of a resurgent middle class.

Things are looking up, they promise, and if we would just double down on their liberal economic policies, we'd be in even better shape.

As President Obama put it in his State of the Union address, "the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works" — "middle-class economics" being liberals' latest attempt to rebrand their doctrinaire tax-and-spend approach.

That might do nicely for rhetoric. But it doesn't square with reality for millions of Americans who are still reeling from the losses they sustained in the last great recession.


You don't have to take my word for it.

This headline from The New York Times is among the latest piece in a long string of evidence that Democratic policies have failed to give middle-class families the relief they so desperately need: "Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up."

The crux of the report, as you might imagine, is that in recent years "the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom."

For those who have "fallen to the bottom," for those who are struggling to hang on to the middle-class lives they've earned and for those who are hoping to climb up and join the middle class, Obama's brand of "middle-class economics" hasn't really helped. They're still plagued by stagnant wages, fewer good jobs and sky-high costs for top priorities like higher education and healthcare.

The president's latest proposals — such as his abruptly abandoned attempt to raid middle-class families' college savings accounts to pay for new government spending — would only make matters worse.

Republicans are right to point out the shortcomings of liberal policies. For instance, despite a declining unemployment rate, labor participation remains at a historic low, and many of the jobs that have been created are low-wage, insecure and don't offer good opportunities for upward mobility.

The president and his allies in Congress have failed, and their new tax-and-spend push would prove disastrous. But while that might be reality, it's not a message, and it won't deliver the results we need today, in 2016, and beyond.

To win the support of middle-class Americans, conservatives must articulate an optimistic, forward-looking agenda that tackles tough middle-class economic challenges — and we must ask for a chance to put this vision into practice by electing a conservative reformer to the White House who will work with Congress to deliver results for the American people.

Fortunately, the blueprints of this conservative renewal already exist in Room To Grow, a collection of conservative solutions to middle-class problems that has been called "the most coherent and compelling policy agenda the American right has produced this century."

These principled, workable proposals demonstrate that conservatives offer the best way forward on a wide range of issues important to working families:

As calls continue to mount for conservatives to articulate a positive agenda beyond rolling back President Obama's worst excesses, building the Keystone XL pipeline and reining in taxes and regulations, this should be the jumping-off point for leaders who care about middle-class families and understand the urgent need for a governing vision that puts these Americans at its very center.

Murray is the founder, senior strategist and chairman of the board of the YG Network.