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The view from Main Street

By John Larson and William Brangham

“Main Street” is one of the most clichéd phrases in American political speech.  What politician – Democrat or Republican — hasn’t deployed that term to signal that they’re in tune with the concerns of real people?

Taking that cliché to heart, and given that New Hampshire is about to put its stamp on the Republican presidential nomination, we decided to travel to New Hampshire to hear the stories of people who live and work on a real Main Street.

We went to Nashua, located in the southeastern corner of the state, and it didn’t take long to find plenty of good news – bustling small businesses, a thriving local bank, all on one of the most scenic Main Streets we’d seen.  New Hampshire itself boasts better economic numbers than most places in the U.S.  But as we knocked on more and more doors on Main, we also discovered a more troubling story:  that despite New Hampshire’s rosy economic statistics, this extended economic downturn has wounded the middle class in a way that feels more permanent than temporary.  Here’s our report:We’re grateful to all the residents and business owners on Nashua’s Main Street – those who appear in this broadcast, and many others who don’t — who welcomed us into their town and shared their stories with us.  In particular, we’re grateful to two local musicians, Russ Fontaine and Joel Cage, who graciously allowed us to use their music in our program.


  • Bob

    Just watched this episode on TV.  The situation in Southeast Wisconsin is exactly the same as you found in New Hampshire.  Many folks, myself included, working for 30% less than I earned 3 years ago, plus paying for my own health insurance.  Making my mortgage payments, but house underwater.  Taking out loans to pay for kids college.  Wondering how long this can go on, and if I can ever retire at all, nevermind comfortably

  • Anonymous

    Main st Greenport is in bad shape too. Small family owned businesses are in serious debt, several small storefronts are already empty. Those of us who own buildings are only working to hold on to them and those of us who pay rent aren’t able to pay ourselves. People have been layed off, full time jobs are now part time and owners are working full time to pay the building mortgages, property taxes and required insurance policies. We all need this to be over…

  • Chuck

    This is one of the first shows that tells it like it is. We all need to watch this and call your congressman and demand action be taken and that both political parties start doing the people work and quit bickering with each other and safe whats left of the middle class

  • Janice Fields

    Athough the Main Street piece showed just the white mainstream the black mainstream is also hurting far worse than the white mainstream to put a fine point on the matter. But just to clarify President Obama did not create this problem and has made every effort to correct a lot of the problems. I for one feel that he has done the best he can considering the opposition he has gotten from Republican party

  • Johnfrancis

    Just watched show featuring Ledeaux (sp?) family. Here is some financial advice for the extended family living under one roof:

    1. Pets cost money. Get rid of dogs to save on food, vet bills, grooming, etc.
    2. Cable TV is a LUXURY. Get rid of the cable.
    3. Saw a few babies and mention of “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” living in the house – stop having babies…especially out of wedlock.
    4. Electricity costs money. Cut back on the gaudy holiday light display.

  • Anonymous

    Considering how the state of the economy seems to be a result of politics, I was really shocked not to hear bashing of any particular political party like you can expect from other networks. This was an informative piece on the struggle of Main Street, which some other networks won’t tell because it’s in their best interest to have you think the economy is rockin’ so that you will continue or start to send your money to the Wall Street casino all in the name of investing for your retirement. That’s enough about horrible news networks but I could go on for a while.

    Now, what stood out to me in this piece was the substantial debt being taken on for a higher education. I know education is important, but people, especially parents footing the bill for their child, need to think twice about going to likely expensive well known colleges when they can get a good education at one that is less known (less desired) and affordable. If you choose the expensive school and are not blessed with lots of money, and it’s a must you watch every dollar, then it doesn’t pass the common sense test. I just don’t understand taking on all of that debt, especially for useless degrees (shouldn’t need mentioning) and in this bad economy only to struggle to pay off the lender. Actually, that doesn’t make sense to me in a good economy. People are finishing school with debt that equals the cost of three or four new cars, a house even, with little or no job prospects.

    I recommend attending the affordable, lesser known college or institution, study hard, and network (intern) in your down time. Oftentimes, it’s not where you went to school or what you know, but who you know.  

  • Lyn

    Bob, you seem like a great guy.  One thing that isn’t a good idea though is taking out loans for your children’s college.  Saw this mentioned by a gentleman on the program also ($140K college debt for his kids).  Let them learn how to do it on their own – they will appreciate it more.  Not only that, but will they be paying for your retirement when the time comes?  It’s important to love one’s children, but don’t sacrifice your own future along the way.

  • sooz

    Excellent piece…… extremely well presented as Nashua echoes small town USA.  This new format of Need to Know is working. Very well.  
    I like it.  
    A lot.  

  • Gollytwo

    I just saw the Main St. program which I had recorded last evening.
    Two things came to mind: First, having children you can’t afford does leave you impoverished.
    Second, Don’t know who invests Good Shepherd’s money but they need a new person.  My stock holding also dropped to one half as did theirs.  Mine, however, have regained 2/3 to 3/4 their previous value.
    An interesting program but with zilch acknowledgement of how folks contribute to, sometimes cause, their own miseries.

  • Carl Hindy, Ph.D.

    I was glad to get my thirty seconds as “the marriage counselor” in this
    engaging video shot on the Main Street where I head to work each day. 
    I’ve looked out that window onto Main Street, Nashua, NH for twelve
    years, and worked locally for twenty-five:  that’s how many recessions?

    Frankly, I would argue that “the recession” was the one which occurred
    in the 1989-1990 time frame, and that’s when so much changed, never to
    fully “recover” in the sense that many of us would wish.  When I saw
    counseling clients during that recession circa 1990, they were long time
    employees laid off from major companies where they’d worked for
    decades, and often where a parent worked for decades as well.  They were
    devastated financially, but especially wrought with feelings of
    betrayal.  Those companies in which they’d worked their way up, those
    companies which had seemed to invest in them and their families to keep
    them for the long term (and fund their retirement thereafter) were
    cutting them loose based on numbers and organizational charts at
    headquarters far away.  “How could they do this to me?” was what I heard
    day after day.

    These folks were heading into the new era, given the new lexicon of buzz
    words that were to be their hope for the future:  “Network … Keep
    your skill set up to date along with your resume … Go to the
    outplacement service, see the headhunters, attend support and networking
    groups … log onto Monsterboard…”  Everyone was to be a free agent
    now, looking out for yourself, not expecting long term employment (that
    actually would look like a negative on your resume!). 

    And the stock market recovered.  Or did it?  And the recession ended. 
    Or did it?  It seems to me that we entered an era where corporations
    increasingly lived quarter-to-quarter — or even more tempestuously, as
    news of the quarter presaged the quarter’s end.  The stock market has
    risen and declined, but always seems to be on a razor’s edge,
    susceptible to so many forces (international, political, psychological)
    and fluctuating as much from the superficial factors as the fundamental
    ones.  It’s a short-term world.

    I’m a psychologist and marriage counselor, not an economist or
    politician.  What hits home in the therapy room, I believe, is that we
    are living longer term lives in a shorter term world.  And this is very
    stressful.  I believe that individual, couples and families need always
    to feel that they’re “getting somewhere,” “making progress,” “have
    something to show for the year,” “are further ahead this year than last
    year” … That we are “getting somewhere,” not just getting older (and
    approaching whole new sets of worries!)  The sense of forward movement
    seems very important.  Without forward movement, we feel more buffeted
    by all the daily problems and pressures.  Psychologists always talk
    about the influence of our pasts.  I think it’s important to see that we
    are pulled toward the future … and when the picture of the future is
    fuzzy and uncertain, anxiety and depression increase.  We need to feel
    an “internal local of control,” “self-efficacy” … Call it what you
    will, but it’s the belief that our efforts, our work, our determination,
    will lead to the goals we want in life.  What is the opposite?  It’s
    that the rewards in our life are not under our control, but under the
    control of luck, chance, and powerful others  (And folks point to a
    gridlocked political system, corporate greed, shortsighted profit-taking
    over longer term “values,” and so on).  Maybe if folks feel little
    control over their future, we can understand why they might just run-up
    their credit cards, buy the lavish items, head out on vacation using the
    home equity, care less about your weight and nutrition … The future
    is NOT where it’s at.  Spend!  (Hey, we are told that spending is what’s
    needed to invigorate the economy!)

    In doing marriage counseling, I believe that couples need to have their
    dreams for their future.  They need to be able to share those dreams by
    talking about them, exploring them … It’s part of that pull toward the
    future.  When we the degree of uncertainty we now face in our lives, it
    seems that the pull of the dreams is lost.  Talking about “what we hope
    to do in retirement,” “selling our house and moving to the lake,” and
    “sending our children to top notch colleges” now raise our blood
    pressure rather than give us pleasure, and they come between husbands
    and wives rather than bring them together; so we are more likely to
    avoid those conversations.  The sharing of the dreams is too often
    replaced with the sharing of the tensions of the day.  Couples come to
    counseling increasingly bickering about the daily minutia as they don’t
    feel they are “getting anywhere.”

    I’ve noticed the psychological research of eminent psychologist Carol
    Dweck, at Stanford.  She asks the question, “Is there such a thing as
    will power?”  Her research, in short, indicates that there is will power
    for people who believe in it!   This sounds a lot like the “internal
    locus of control” and “sense of self-efficacy” of which I spoke
    earlier.  How do we restore it, for more people more of the time?  How
    do we restore the belief that we can achieve what we want in life
    through our self-determination and hard work?  We need to find ways to
    take that back.

  • Gclarke

    In an evolving global economy Exchange Street has replaced Main Street as the center of economic activity. Main Streets are relics of a post WWII industrial production based economy and although they carry great nostolgia, they are relics of the past. The difficult question is what happens to a generation of production works who are obsolete or under educated and represent the 100,000,000 people living at or below the proverty level? The central message from all the Republican presidential candidates is it is essential to cut off the social safety net for this lost generation in order to save the 120,000,000+ productive tax paying Americans. Or said another way, implement natural selection by public policy. Harsh perhaps but necessary to save the competitive position of the U.S. in a global economy.    

  • Jamnkev

    I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Mrs. Ledoux say, “after we pay the cable bill” what!? They supposedly live paycheck to paycheck and the have cable!!! I would’ve liked the interviewer to ask to see their cell phones. They probably have several cell phones in that family and have data plans that they can’t afford.

    My husband was laid off after working 18 years at Weyerhaeuser (along with about 30 others in their IT layoff last year). His cell phone was a work cell that he had to return. We didn’t go get him a new one. I had a cell phone with no data plan and it is a flip phone that I have had for 7 years that we pay $35/month for..we both used it. We stopped our cable, we rented movies from the library, we quit eating out, I began cutting our whole family’s hair (including the dog). I am sick of hearing how people are having such a hard time and yet they think that cable is a necessity. My husband applied for 31 jobs and had 7 interviews before finding a job that he had to agree to taking a 52% paycut from what he had made in his previous job. We still don’t have cable -it is not a necessity!!!!!!

    I felt bad for the Ledoux family until I heard that they had a hard time paying for cable. I could’t feel bad after that. It would be refreshing to see journalists who dug a bit deeper to see if the people who claim that they are having such a hard time are actually making it hard on themselves. I agree with the other person that posted about their Christmas lights. So many lights = high electrical bill. I am not trying to be a Scrooge, they could’ve put a few lights up, not that many.

    Quite interesting to hear the journalist narrating say that she was “fired” 10 days after Need to Know had been there. FIRED – not laid off. That means she was responsible for her no longer being employed. Really hard to feel sorry for someone who gets themselves fired.

    Maybe Need to Know could revisit them and have a look at how often the eat out, how much their cable and cell phone bills are and help teach them what is a necessity and what is not.
    I do wish the family the best, but they really need some common sense help.

    Main Street America needs to learn the difference between “NEED” and “WANT” and live accordingly.

  • Lyn

    It is hard to ignore some of the bad financial moves that this family may be making.  Absolutely, cable is not a necessity.  We don’t have cable because it’s a want, not a need, and it’s not something we have the money for.  We are not suffering without it.   We don’t put up holiday lights because the electric bill is high enough without that, and there is no desire to pay our utility company more than we have to.  It is quite interesting what some people think is a necessity in life.  We live on one very modest income, and I’m home due to health.  We do not have debt, and we don’t live beyond our means.  If we don’t have it, we don’t spend it, period.  We try to put aside every dollar that we can, because you never know what is around the corner.  I do many frugal things to make our income stretch.  It is tight, but we are not suffering, and we can pay the bills.  We live in New England, where it’s very expensive – groceries, gas, and utilities are high.  We have an old car, live in a very modest home, don’t go on vacations.  Deprivation is a mindset.  If you think you are poor, then maybe you are, at least mentally.  Many in this country may be broke, but totally poor, that is more rare.  There are people in 3rd world countries who have much less than even the poorest of Americans who are grateful for what they have.  Perhaps this family has had some hard breaks I am sure, but it is possible to make things more difficult by making poor choices along the way.   

  • Kymberlaine Banks

    The meanness of some of these comments is as much a problem as all of the complex economic and social issues that are making this, “more permanent,” downturn stick for someone makes less than perfect financial decisions (I’d love to meet the person that has only made good ones) doesn’t change the fact that they can’t get ahead, let alone catch up. The end note resonates for me – if politicians LISTEN they may, and I realize this is possibly utopian, actually gather to address pervasive issues affecting Americans instead of working round the clock to get elected so they can head to Washington to work round the clock avoiding getting any meaningful work done.

    Nice Piece.

  • Kymberlaine Banks

    The meanness of some of these comments is as much a problem as all of
    the complex economic and social issues that are making this, “more
    permanent,” downturn stick for someone makes less than perfect financial
    decisions (I’d love to meet the person that has only made good ones)
    doesn’t change the fact that they can’t get ahead, let alone catch up.
    The end note resonates for me – if politicians LISTEN they may, and I
    realize this is possibly utopian, actually gather to address pervasive
    issues affecting Americans instead of working round the clock to get
    elected so they can head to Washington to work round the clock avoiding
    getting any meaningful work done.

    Nice Piece.

  • Gclarke

    This story cries out for the need to teach personal finance and family planning in all high schools.  
    In a survey by the Consumer Education Services Inc., a Raleigh, N.C. based debt counseling agency, found about 66 percent of parents who held at least $1,000 in credit card debt said kids should be required to take a class on how to use credit cards. The survey also found that only 5 percent of those parents had ever had such a class themselves.

    Only Utah, West Virginia, and South Carolina mandate the teaching of financial literacy in schools.

    One would think this would be a key family values topic for the Republican presidential candidates.

  • Gollytwo

    The comments aren’t mean – they are common sense.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, shut up. Let the people have their entertainment and stop being so self righteous. How dare you look down your nose at someone struggling financially. I highly doubt their cable bill makes much of a difference with all they own in medical bills. So, good for you. You didn’t get your husband a new phone or put up lights. They most likely keep the cable for the children and to watch sports. Being a die hard sports fan in New England I can tell you I cry about not having cable. I miss spending time with my family watching Bruins or Red Sox games (something that requires cable). I couldn’t even watch the game on a national network because it was blacked out (not that I get to enjoy watching anything anyway – since they switched to digital, I lose signal every time the subway goes by. I catch only bits and pieces of things). I don’t have cable, but, I certainly don’t judge anyone that does. Being a sports fan and a mother, I can tell you, cable would make my life 10 times easier/better. It’s probably they’re only source of comfort. They shouldn’t be judged for it. See you in Hell…you do know you’re going, right? That’s what happens when you’re a snotty judgmental pig.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I can’t believe how judgmental some of these people are. The Ledoux’s are under attack for having cable. This is New England. Everyone knows we’re serious about our sports. Can’t watch the B’s, C’s, or Sox if you don’t have NESN or TBS… I had to get rid of my cable before the NHL playoffs last year. I actually became depressed during the finals because I couldn’t watch. Laugh if you want, but, I cry on game days. My husband and I don’t have very much else common. Curling up on the couch watching the game was our “date night”. I miss it. 

  • Anonymous

    Who are you to judge?

    1. Most people consider their pets as family. It’s a life time obligation.
    2. Without cable, people in New England can’t watch sports. You must not be from New England. B’s, C’s, Pats, Sox = Family Game Night in New England.3. Not your business. Pregnancy happens. I’d rather see them keep and love a child than see them kill it or throw it away like trash.4. You’re just a freakin’ grinch. It’s common knowledge that people who have Christmas (it’s still okay to say Christmas) lights are typically happier…even when they receive that significantly higher electric bill. 

    You’re judging these people who are just trying to enjoy what little they have instead of getting angry at the people who are overcharging for this stuff. $120 for basic cable?? Really, Comcast?   

  • Treebie

    This videomakes me fee both lucky because I have a college education and fearful because I don’t see a future that makes me feel optimistic for our economy, despite the slight improvement.  I love Obama but feel he does not understand economics and has made bad decisions.  insituting national health care is obviously a need, but the method of implementation will be damaging to our fagile economy and small businesses.  helping banks and aiding mortgage holders is needed but the implementation was poor.  In any system, shocks to the system with huge changes creates large swings that are debilitating on thedown side and difficult to manage on the up side.  In economics, large swings creates huge costs that even on the up side can be damaging…this is system theory.  My duaghter has debts from college like these kids but I have made sacrifices in my future by borrowing from y retirement to pay for her college insteead of using banks or govet loands as much becuase I saw how aggressive the govt is about collecting student loand debt.  Due to very bad credit practices during my marriage prior to the recent crash, I ended up in bankruptcy and due to the new laws ended up on chapt 13 rather than chap 7 so I have to pay it all back…even though my ex was the reason for the debt.  I still have two years to pay on that.  I’m happy I’m still workng but my income says nothing about y current level of living.  After paying for a house I no longer live in, my daughters college expenses and the loans I took for her, my current apt I moved to for a new job at hgher pay and the bankruptcy, I live on about 12,000 per year for my living expenses and utilities, etc.  I don’t contribut much to the economy ths way.  I don’t see much chnging for about 5 years for me and I retire in 10.  My hope is that I can hang onto that house (I never missed a payment despite the bankruptcy) and save enough to live modestly in that house when i retire.  In this economy, I don’ treally think it’s reasonable to say kids need to earn their own way in college.  As an administrator in academia, it is clear that working too much reduces a student’s ability to learn and take care of education.  More than 20 hours a week is proven to be detrimental to GPA and if you believe that indicates learning then they are damaging their futures.  I think hoping for a return of the past is a waste at this point.  being more innovative, starting your own company and electing officials that have some practical experience beyond the law is essential for our country.  I appreciate economists and the study but I find them to also be rather incapable of understanding reality because they work in large numbers and global theories rahter than local and current situations.  AFter studying the NAFTA agreement I find I agree with both sides…it was both good and bad for all parties.  theeconomists focused on the good which was global and long term (overall economies were lifted) but ignored the local (many people did lose jobs and shifting locations for production DID damage cities and put people out of work and in some cases eliminated work for large numbers of people)   These (mostly men) advise the president who does not understand economics and encouage decisions that when implemented are in the short tem very wrong.  A four year temr is too short for some of the economic actiosn to be seen as positive.  I think we have a cadre of lawmakers who do not realize that their job has shifted from making laws to understanding business and the economy…we have economists who do not have theories that adequately explain our current situations (sevice economies are very differnet from mfg economies…global economies are very different from domestic economies) and a hevay need to more highly educate our population to compete with the rest of the world to which both lawmakers and the poplation seem to be blind .  If we aren’t  focusing on getting a higher percentageof our population into higher ed, we will not be prepared for the coming changes in the economic landscape due to these changes we see now.  We need to stop the pity party and figure out what to do and then execute it well…what I don’t see are poeple incharge who understand this and are doinig something about it.  stop the rhetoric in politics..this is no longer a time when we have the luxury to be concerned baout social issues like gay marriage, abortion, relgiation…etc.  we need to focus on what will dirve the education education.  building a foundation of educated  voters should be the focus of every elected official.  I’m not saying this because I’m in academica either.  I’m saying it becuase  the new jobs will be for people educated fro the service economy we’ve become..and the higher paying jobs in that economy require educaiton…otherwise you’ll be selling retail to foreign tourists at minimum wage. 

  • Ruasf

    Why are the young men and women and the their parents giving in to going to any university or college when the cost is not worth the investment.  The public libraries and the libraries on the campus’ and the university book stores etc. … those that want to learn can go there and learn without intentionally going into an unrealistic debt that they believe they can not ever pay back. 

  • Anonymous

    Obama is a good man. I believe he has genuine concern for everyone. However, he has not made every effort. He has a whole-lotta-heart and no backbone. He never stands up to these goons or throws his weight around. There are two sides and both of them are at equally responsible. Ron Paul 2012!

  • Ruasf

    Because the medical communities under the tyranny of the A.M.A. have no charity or forgivness of debts as their record it did not supprise me to learn how many people are in debt because of medical bills.  The Greed of Wall Street has been attempting to murder Main Street as far as I can remember.  The worst are those that never forgive debts.

  • RDUGAR1522


  • Johnfrancis

    Clearly reading comprehension is not a strength of OBKB. My comments were financial advice. I was not judging the family. I made no mention of the existing babies – rather, stop having more ( in the future is implied) when it costs over a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child, I think that is sound advice.

    I did not say eliminate holiday lighting. I said “cut back.” People don’t read.

    I am willing to bet the family does not even know the origins of Christmas lighting and what it represents. In biblical times, a single candle in a window at the inn meant there was room available (vacancy). The way we have commercialized Christmas is a disgrace…our course the electric utility loves it.

  • Carl Hindy, Ph.D.

    I can understand how people give up trying, even though most of us keep our shoulder to the plow even though we have our serious doubts about reaching our goals.  If it feels impossible to reach your goal (e.g., retirement savings),
    it’s distressing, and dwelling on the out-of-reach goal just makes you
    feel bad.  So it’s understandable if you forgo the goal and try to be
    happy today.  But the future lurks and it’s scary, no matter how big we
    make the TV sets or stare at our fancy cell phones!  I know the feeling
    that, so often, it seems like “the problem is so hopeless that it’s not
    serious,” i.e., how serious can I get about something over which I have
    little control.

    Honest to goodness, I had a dream a few weeks ago
    that I won Megabucks, and I was upset.  I explained to my wife, “I won
    Megabucks but it was only One Million Dollars, and I realized I couldn’t
    retire on that … I’ve heard all the investment radio shows about how
    you can only draw maybe 4% per year off your savings if you want to
    preserve the principal and not out live it.  And that meant $40,000 per
    year.  With tax on that, let’s make that $28,000.  Have you seen the
    price of groceries and gas?”  It’s exactly the point:  If I had a
    million dollars in my 401K, I’d still have to shut off the cable TV, and
    sit at Sttarbucks to get the free WiFi (and bring my own coffee!)

    not a rich doctor.  I’m a psychologist.  I work in the mental health
    field.  I have kids in college and am grateful they get financial aide,
    and they’ll have their share of loans when they graduate as well.  I
    keep playing by the ‘old rules’ of trying hard to save, learn all I can
    about finances and make prudent choices.  I guess I feel good, in some
    small measure, that I’m doing the right thing … Going about the right
    motions, anyway, even if it doesn’t get me to the old goals.  I read
    statistics about how more than half of people cash-in their 401k’s
    rather than roll them over when they change jobs; and I think, with one
    half of my brain, “They are so foolish and short sighted.”  Yet with the
    other half of my brain I’m haunted by the thought, “Maybe they have the
    right idea.  Live for today for tomorrow you die.”  It’s in my nature
    to be a thinker and a worrier, and I just couldn’t do the latter.

    my clients at least I share the sentiment that, amidst all of this, we
    need to find things that do give meaning and purpose to our lives, and a
    sense of forward movement even if it’s not with money-linked-goals.  At
    least not in these financially changing and challenging times.  In
    sharing these struggles, I do feel some camaraderie, and that’s a plus
    (like people bonding in hard times) … And I try to remind myself that
    psychological studies of happiness show us that it’s our relationships
    with others, our daily experiences and engagement in life that brings
    happiness.  But it can be so hard to focus on those other goals when financial worries lurk, and the 24/7 TV and Internet remind us of all the problems and uncertainties.

  • Roys

    No one is in touch with the real middle class. The main street episode on need to know was close. But still very far away from the real reality. The generation of today have few benefits that our parents had. We work side by side with the baby boomers who have enjoyed high salaries and multiple benefits. We see them at the company I work for retire at age 58 with a pension, social security, retirement health insurance, medicare, and a 401 k plan to boot. Today companies do not offer a pension plan. We watch jobs go overseas, Not because of high wages, but because of all the E.P.A regulations and labor laws that companies have to deal with here in the U.S.
    I read an article in the Houston chronicle this past week about how much money illegal immigrants paid into taxes, Braging about how this is good for our government because they cant claim those taxes. Well let us Americans claim married and 10, and we wont claim that money either. Both politicle parties need to put us on a level playing field. Put a stop to our jobs going over seas. I could end unemployment tomorrow. Just pass a law that says any imports coming into the U.S. must be made with the same E.P.A regulations and labor laws that are in place for U.S. companies. And then put a stop to companies hiring illegals workers. Even our government is giving jobs to illegals for cheaper labor. They just hire contract companies now. Look at NASA. They have not stoped or downsized. If you count the amount of contract labor workers they have at Jacobs, boening, and other contract companies you would find they have the same or even more employees today than a  year ago. But they are lining these rich companies pockets by paying contractors. 
    Need to Know, You did good. But get in touch with the real middle class of today. Come to Houston where things are strong because of weak unions and cheap illegal labor. Why do you think Toyota opened their manufacture plant in San Antonio? Cheap labor and non union state.  It will be a long time before this country is fixed. I dont think I will be around to see it.
    But Thanks for Trying Need To Know

  • WW

    Eating the seed stock. 

  • Canadian

    One of two Americans are in poverty.and four of six presidential candidates ready to send troops back to Iraq and bomb Iran although USA debt more than 15 trillions……but,Americans continue vote for the stereotype warmongers….

  • Florah1

    I am very impressed by the qualiber of the program in general. However I cannot fathom why no one brings up or no one questions the fact that one reason the congress is at a standstill is PRINCIPALLY BECAUSE OF THE TEA PARTY.  Why on earth doesnt anyone say anything about that, just piously say it is the two parties not willing to compromise. Mr Obama and Mr Boehner (whom I don’t like but ) both put together a plan but the TEA PARTY balked. We are in a situation of dictatorship of people determined to destroy Obama even if it helps destroy the country.
    Why on earth doesnt anyone say anything about that specifically. I know I am repeating myself but I am beside myself by this blindness, the explanation for it is the FEAR of people of the republicans.
    No balls…
    Sincerely yours, Flora Hogman, Phd

  • Ed60062

    Unfortunately, war feeds the economy. It keeps tens of thousands employed and creates a huge need for manufacturing everything from weapons to clothing to vehicles. We’d be in worse shape without the war. This comment, of course, is not offered in support of war.

  • Plzvote

    The reason the father is taking out the student loans is because he has no intention of paying it back.  He declares bankruptcy but the student loans are not included.  20 years down the road it’s forgotten (the law)(Obama signed it). His children are educated for “free”. 

  • Dflann

    My father-in-law was up from Boston to visit my wife and I in Nashua where we live- and told us about this piece. I just watched it online. I didn’t know that once I viewed it (for the simplistic sake of seeing my city on TV), it would hit me as one of the best pieces of journalism I had ever seen. Mr. Larson and Mr. Brangham deserve nothing less than the best award for capturing both the good and the not-so-good and for taking us on what felt like a true and real journey of Main Street. From the businesses to the residents to the church and college, everything was captured beautifully and accurately. This is what fair and balanced looks like and it was so enlightening and thought provoking to watch. Thank you for this story. It could not have been done better.