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

The Tension Between Border Town Police and Navajos is Real. And These People are Trying to Change That.
Research traces the conflict between Navajo Nation members and border town police back to the 1840s, when white settlers began occupying areas of Navajo land. These outcroppings became the border towns of today.
March 1, 2021
A Desert Shootout Spills Into Utah, Leaving One Man Dead and a Sergeant Facing Charges
A Colorado sheriff’s sergeant chased a car into Navajo Nation land in Utah and killed a man. Feds in Utah said the fatal shots were justified, but Colorado state prosecutors are now pressing charges tied to the shootout.
March 1, 2021
U.S. Strikes Iran-Backed Militias in Syria, Responding to Rocket Attacks
The U.S. strikes destroyed facilities used by a number of Iranian-backed militias, including Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada and Kata’ib Hezbollah. The latter figured heavily in our recent documentary "Iraq's Assassins."
February 26, 2021
Saudi Crown Prince Approved Plan to "Capture or Kill" Columnist Jamal Khashoggi, According to Declassified U.S. Report
The newly declassified U.S. intelligence report names Mohammed bin Salman, subject of the 2019 documentary "The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
February 26, 2021