Is There Hope for the Middle Class? – Live Chat Transcript

Share:

July 9, 2013

It’s a central premise of the American dream: If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be able
to make a living and build a better life for your children.

But what if working hard isn’t enough to ensure success — or even the basics of daily life?

In Two American Families, Bill Moyers follows families in Milwaukee for more than two decades as they struggle year after year to stay out of poverty, often working longer days for less pay and fewer benefits. Despite their hard work, they only fell further behind.

They’re not alone. Over the last several decades, middle class families have struggled to keep pace with smaller paychecks, mounting debt and shrinking opportunities for steady work.

How are the Stanleys and Neumanns now? After fighting for living wages for more than 20 years, have they found an economic foothold? Is there still hope for a middle class in the new American economy?

We’ve asked the film’s producers, Tom Casciato and Kathleen Hughes, to join us in a live chat to answer those questions — and take yours. They’ll be joined by Keith Stanley, whose childhood is portrayed in the film and who is now executive director of the Avenues West Association, a Milwaukee nonprofit promoting business and economic development.

Our guest questioner is David Rohde, a Pulitzer-prize winning author and investigative journalist for Thomson Reuters and The Atlantic. He wrote the piece “In Milwaukee, an evaporating middle class” in 2011. He recently worked on a definitive series of pieces covering  income inequality in America for Thomson Reuters.

You can leave a question in the chat window below, and come by at 2 p.m. ET on July 10 to join the live discussion.


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

‘A Thousand Cuts’: Where to Stream the Documentary About Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa
As Ressa receives the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, watch a documentary chronicling how the journalist became a target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on the press in the Philippines.
December 8, 2021
Catching Up With 2 of the Kids from ‘Poor Kids’
Nine years after the documentary’s premiere, we talked to Kaylie and Johnny about where they are today, what’s next and life during COVID.
December 7, 2021
PANDORA PAPERS: Video & Major Stories From Our Partners
Watch the trailer for an upcoming FRONTLINE investigation into the Pandora Papers, exposing how U.S. trusts are sheltering millions in controversial assets, and read major stories from our ICIJ partners.
December 7, 2021
The ‘21-Foot Rule’: How a Controversial Training for Police is Used to Justify Shootings
The 21-foot rule is taught to police across the U.S. and officers use it to explain why they shot at someone. But it's not based on science or the law. And some national policing leaders argue it shouldn’t be taught to cadets anymore.
December 6, 2021