middle class past present

The Middle Class

Past and Present




series optimism begin/began/begun
lift (3) create (2) drive/drove/driven (2)
rally triumph time and again
pull (2) litter (2) hot off the press (2)
rest (2) push (2) get/got/got
poll (3) born into days ahead
envy press (2) bail you out
earn (2) engine (2) opportunity
income value (2) celebrate (2)
belief hard work mow the lawn
trouble might (2) good/better/best
income look alike make/made/made
mow statistic write/wrote/written
lawn pick up (4) go/went/gone
develop aspiration meet/met/met
PTA insurance rise/rose/risen
hope move up child/children
reel imagine position (2)
shame right (5) remarkable
ladder collapse (2) cost/cost/cost
barely diagnosis hanging on
law pink slip at the same time
slip (2) taxpayer make it through
salary interactive make/made/made
soar (2) portrait (2) come/came/come
bailout right now lose/lost/lost
all in it giant (2) know/knew/known
quiz once more tell/told/told
push (2) send/sent/sent






Tonight we begin a World News special series on what has happened to the American middle-class — those people whose drive and optimism have lifted the nation out of financial trouble into triumph time-and-time again, first during the Industrial Revolution; again after World War Two.

And the question is: can the middle class rally once more to pull America ahead?

In our first report tonight, we have an ABC News poll hot off the presses. And a portrait of the 135 million working people who did so much to create this American Century.

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The American middle-class; the envy of the rest of the world. Fifty percent (50%) of this nation — the engine of America’s financial might.

And through the years, we’ve celebrated middle-class houses . . . cars . . . families . . .

Though to be middle-class always had less to do with income than a defining value — a belief that with hard work and a better education, in America your children would have a better life and more opportunity.

Professor Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University School of Law: “The middle-class is what makes us America; the fact that we weren’t born into it we earned it. We developed it. And we don’t all look alike in it.

That’s that’s what makes it great!”

Professor Elizabeth Warren has been writing about the middle class for 20 years.

Professor Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University School of Law: “Middle-class people are people who mow the lawn, who pick up litter on the streets, who go to the PTA meetings.

It’s about aspirations and what hopes we have for our children. That’s middle class.”

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But today America’s middle class is reeling.

Anonymous Couple, Wife: “The shame. The shame of just being in this position — it never would imagine yourself being here.”

It leads to a remarkable statistic in a new ABC News poll: it shows ninety-four percent (94%) of America’s middle-class no longer believes that central idea that their families will move up the economic ladder. Forty percent (40%) say they’re barely hanging on.

Perhaps because in the last two decades, family income only increased twenty percent (20%), while health insurance rose 155%. The cost of housing rose 56%. The cost of a college education 43%.

Professor Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University School of Law: “Millions of American families are living one pink slip . . . one bad diagnosis away from complete and economic collapse.”

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At the same time, middle-class Americans have watched Wall Street salaries soar thanks to the taxpayer bailout.

Professor Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University School of Law: “What part of ‘we bailed you out’ do these Wall Street banks not get?

If we lose the middle class, we’re a different country. I don’t know what that country is.”

Teacher in Classroom: “I don’t make enough money!”

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So in the coming days, World News will talk to community leaders about solutions.

And we’ve sent out letters to the financial giants to ask them all about another American belief: that we can make it through good times or bad — if we’re all in it together.

And again tomorrow night what your neighbors may not be telling you. And there will be much more from our series in the days ahead. But go to our website: there’s poll information there, and you can take our interactive quiz whether you’re in the middle class right now.

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Homeless. In the United State, are the wealthy considered the essence or backbone of American society and identify?

Prisoner, Convict. Is the middle-class a new and recent phenomenon?

Poor. There is a single criterion for being in the middle-class. Is this right or wrong? What are the two main definitions or ideas about being middle-class?

Lower-class. In the classical scenario, are people automatically categorized as middle-class?

Unemployed. Is a characteristic of the middle-class only about attending university, being a professional, and having a successful career or business?

Working-poor. “The shame. The shame of just being in this position — it never would imagine yourself being here.” What does this person mean? Did they reveal themselves?

Working-class, Lower middle-class. Is the American middle-class growing and getting stronger, or has it become shaky, unstable, volatile and less secure? Can people go from being middle-class to being destitute, literally overnight?

Middle-class. What are some causes of middle-class hardships? Is everything “fair”? Do people think the system is “fair”?
Upper middle-class. What can you say about socio-economic classes or social classes in your city and country? Has it always been this way? How have things changed?

Upper-Class. Is there a large gap between rich and poor or rich and middle-class? Is it easy, difficult, in the middle or in-between to move up (advance in) the social-economic ladder, or it depends?

Rich, Wealthy. Do people think this is a problem, unjust or unfair? Is there a lot of debate, controversy, criticism and complaint about the current situation?

Ultra-Wealthy, Super Rich. What might happen in the future?

Pensioner, Retiree.
What could or should people and governments do?

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