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This Week: Risky Business
This Week
April 8, 2005

This week on NOW:

Americans from the working poor to the traditionally affluent are living closer to the economic edge. One indicator is the growing swings in income from year to year that have put some families on a roller coaster and left them vulnerable to financial disaster. What’s causing this new economic insecurity and what does it say about the level of financial risk assumed by average Americans? NOW profiles two families dealing with the downside of this new economic reality. One of the families, the Ryans from Wilmore, Kentucky, has lived through financial ups and downs during the last two decades. Their story serves as a cautionary tale for America’s middle class. John Ryan, formerly a corporate lawyer now working at the University of Kentucky, has had eight jobs in the past decade—years of work, followed by lay-offs from downsizing. "When I meet someone who’s lost a job…it breaks my heart all over again to think that they may have to go through the same challenges," says Ryan. In the report, David Brancaccio and LOS ANGELES TIMES national economics correspondent Peter Gosselin analyze a thirty-year pattern of cuts to benefits and worker protections that has shifted financial risks from government and business onto average Americans.

In Depth


Risky Business — Family Incomes

Income Volatility in America

Americans and Debt

Debating the Bankruptcy Reform Bill

Social Security Card
Social Security Reform?

Financial State of the Union


Talk back on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

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Risky Business (22:53)


Risky Business
Producer: Peter Meryash
Editor: Kathi Black

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