Middle Class

The Brian Lehrer Show

Mapping the Safety Net

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum talks about his examination of where federal benefits are going that shows more use by the middle class and "red states."

Check out the article and interactive map.

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The Takeaway

No 'Safety Net' for Middle Class?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Mitt Romney has taken a lot of criticism for saying he wasn't "concerned about the very poor" in a post-Florida primary victory interview last week. But some middle-class Americans agree with Romney's sentiment. Kate, a Takeaway listener and delivery driver from Maryland, is frustrated with the very poor, who she believes abuse the system and take opportunities away from people like her.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas Speech

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

President Obama called for a shoring up of the country's middle class and criticized the concentration of wealth in the U.S. during a speech Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas. The town was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's famous "New Nationalism" speech, which, a century earlier touched upon many of the same themes as President Obama's address. But Obama's speech comes on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the GOP Primary, and the inception of his 2012 presidential campaign.

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The Takeaway

The Downward Mobility of America's Black Middle Class

Friday, November 18, 2011

For many Americans, keeping a foothold in the middle class is very difficult. A recent report by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that a third of Americans who are born in the middle class lose their middle class status as adults. Another Pew study notes that African Americans experience the most downward mobility — almost half of children born to middle income African American families fall to the bottom of the income ladder as adults.

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The Takeaway

Middle Class Neighborhoods Shrink Across the US

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A new study looks at four decades of census data from more than 100 of the country's biggest metropolitan areas. Researchers from Brown and Stanford University examined shifting family income levels within individual neighborhoods. They found that in the past 40 years, neighborhoods have shifted, creating larger areas of affluence and larger areas of poverty as middle-income neighborhoods shrink.

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The Leonard Lopate Show


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don Peck examines how the recession has changed the places we live, the work we do, and even who we are. In Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Future and What We Can Do About It, he looks at how the middle class is shrinking faster, wealth is becoming more concentrated, new college graduates are struggling, and working-class families and communities are under growing pressure. 

Don Peck’s article “Can the Middle Class Be Saved” is the cover story in the September issue of The Atlantic magazine.

How has the recession changed your life? Leave a comment below.

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The Takeaway

Are Blue Collar Jobs the Answer to the Shrinking Black Middle Class?

Friday, July 29, 2011

This week, we've been talking about the impact of the recession on the wealth of minority groups in America. Early in the week a new Pew Research Center report showed that Hispanics were the group hit hardest by the recession, with a 66 percent drop in personal wealth, and African-Americans saw a 53 percent decline since 2005. The public sector is the leading employer for African-American men, and the second-largest employer for African-American women — which means public sector lay-offs have disproportionately affected the black middle class. What is the solution?

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The Takeaway

Are American Businesses Leaving Behind the Middle Class?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The unemployment rate hovers at 9.1 percent. This means that nearly 14 millions  are out of work and 2.2 have stopped looking for work, taking themselves out of the market. There is little indication that American companies will begin hiring in significant numbers anytime soon, despite the fact that the economy is producing as much as it was before the recession hit. In fact, many American companies have shifted their focus on growth in emerging markets overseas. Should businesses be doing more to get Americans back to work?

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It's A Free Country ®

Highlights from Obama's Presser

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


President Obama's press conference on Tuesday focused on defending the annual budget he presented yesterday. Reporters used to opportunity to corner him on Egypt, the deficit commission, tax reform and "having an adult conversation" with Republicans.


The Takeaway

Do Middle Class Voters Cast the Right Votes?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today we've been talking in part about the middle class, and an oft-repeated mantra of some who want to reform the way financial power works in Washington is that the middle class vote consistently against their own interests. But is that true? If so, what are the middle class's real interests, and how do they vote against them, when they support members of both parties in Congress? 


It's A Free Country ®

Obama and the Base that Isn't

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"There is no doubt that when Barack Obama chose Geitner and Summers it was a slap in the face of poor people it was a slap in the face of working people it was clear that jobs and homes and crime would be after thoughts and the first priority would the investment banks, Wall Street, elites and oligarchs. It was a very revealing move."

- Cornel West, University Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, on The Brian Lehrer Show.


The Takeaway

Picturing Class: Voices Behind the Photos

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our photo project about class in your life continues. We hear more of the photographers' stories in their own voices.


The Takeaway

Picturing Class: The Voices Behind the Photos

Friday, October 08, 2010

Our photo project continues to draw pictures of class in your life. We hear some of the photographers' stories in their own voices.


The Takeaway

What Signifies Middle Class for African Americans?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As we continue trying to define what it means to be middle class in America, we turn our focus to the black community. Are the indicators of middle class life for black America different from those for white America?


The Takeaway

Who is Middle Class Today?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not long ago, we asked what it means to be rich in the United States today. Now we're asking what it means to be middle class, and the two definitions depend on each other. The boundaries of one abut the other. I think my favorite definition of wealthy came from one of our listeners. She said that when you're rich, everything works. You don't worry about incoming bills, flat tires, broken appliances or emergency room visits because you never have to wonder if you have the money to cover the cost.

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