“[T]he middle class is eroded,” financial services firm Morgan Stanley starkly concludes in a recently released report entitled “Mind the Inequality Gap.”

There is certainly no dearth of sobering evidence to back up that assertion. As noted in a CNN news story chronicling the high debt burdens of scores of millions of Americans, the daunting economic challenges confronting legions of families across the country have become “a big issue on the presidential campaign trail.”

It was not always like that, of course. For generations, America’s middle class was unquestionably dominant in that it fueled the national economy through mass consumer activity.

These days, though, a number of business firms and commentators — including Morgan Stanley — flatly contend that the middle class is disappearing, leaving a growing disparity marked by extremes of wealth at the top and crushing debt loads at the bottom.

The implications of that are crystal clear at both a personal and national level, of course. Reportedly, about 20 percent of American families with an annual income level of less than $41,200 have debt obligations comprising at least 40 percent of that amount.

And that circumscribed buying power adversely impacts the national economy, with constrained consumer activity hurting retailers and other businesses.

A troubling sign noted by some economists is that the most challenged American families are simply resorting to credit to finance the goods they believe they need. For millions, this just exacerbates an already existing problem.

Times are clearly tough for many people, both in California and across the nation. Persons seeking viable options to combat challenging debt levels and restore financial solvency might reasonably want to discuss their personal situation with a proven debt relief attorney.