The Middle Class and the New American Economy


Once upon a time, Terry Neumann and her husband Tony dreamed of a good, simple life together. The same was true for Claude and Jackie Stanley.

But in 1992 — the year Bill Moyers began documenting each family’s pursuit of the American Dream — a new economy was starting to take shape. Manufacturing jobs were being slashed across the nation, forcing families like the Neumanns and the Stanleys to start over.

For the next 20 years, Moyers kept up with the Neumanns and the Stanleys, filming them as they struggled to get ahead, often working longer days for less pay and fewer benefits. Despite their hard work, they only fell further behind.

The story of the Neumanns and the Stanleys is the focus of Two American Families, which airs on FRONTLINE this coming Tuesday, July 9, at 10 p.m. (check local listings).

Ahead of the film’s broadcast premiere, Moyers will explore how middle class families are surviving the New American Economy on Friday’s episode of Moyers & Company. His guests will be Barbara Miner, author Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City; and Barbara Garson, author of Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% Live in the Great Recession. Check your local listings here.


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