Receding American Dream (02:29)
ABC News posed a question about the "American Dream," and many responded with stories of their struggles to achieve it. Diane Sawyer reports on the realities of the working class and the growing economic disparity. The top 20% earn 14 times more than the rest of the nation.
Economy in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (03:19)
Over half of the firefighters in the town work a second job to provide for their families. Chris Smith labors at three jobs and the family lives frugally.
Coleman Family (03:36)
Half of all Americans belong in the middle class and earn at least $54,000. Tracy Coleman explains the family budget to her 7-year-old son; she takes online classes at night. Coleman receives a promotion that increases her salary.
Housing Prices (02:34)
Archie Bunker's home in Queens is worth $800,000; manufacturing jobs in Roseanne Conner's town shrunk. Ralph McLaughlin states that home ownership is at a 50 year low. Real Estate developers increased square footage and added bathrooms in new homes to cater to the upper class.
Financial Struggles (02:52)
Marisha Sevilla rents a two bedroom apartment, works four part-time jobs, and raises two children. Neighbors discuss how they barely afford to survive. Tamara Draut, Darren Walker Arthur Brooks, and Daniel Gilbert discuss the growing economic disparity between upper and working class.
Super Commuters (02:42)
Ronnie Thomas commutes eight hours a day to his job at Stanford University. The 55-year-old recently purchased a home, but still travels 80 miles a day.
Fast Food Workers (04:16)
Terence Wise works two jobs and advocates for "Fight for 15." Approximately 75% of fast food workers are over the age of 20; 52% are on some form of government subsidy. Experts discuss the earned income credit, low wage workers, and raising the minimum wage.
Low Wage Workers (02:30)
Overnight child care emerged as an industry for parents who work at superstores, hospitals, fast food restaurants, and custodial occupations. McDonald's states that each franchisee decides worker salaries; the company provides continuing education for staff. Approximately 25% of adjunct professors receive some form of government subsidy.
Income Inequality (03:07)
In Silicon Valley, employees enjoy benefits such as gyms, free food, and commuter shuttles, but those who drive the buses wait for hours without pay or benefits. The drivers discuss living conditions and sleeping in their cars. Antonio Garcia Marquez states that most employees in the high-tech sector do not see service workers.
Contract Employees (04:08)
A security guard describes how his employer cut his benefits and reduced his hourly rate. Marquez explains that service workers are replaceable to a large corporation— experts discuss the benefits and drawbacks of contract employees. Bus drivers in Silicon Valley unionized; Facebook, Apple, and Google implemented higher salaries and benefits.
Plasma Donations (04:33)
American donors provide 90% of donated plasma globally. In the U.S., participants receive $30-40 per donation. William Harris and Gaylord Cade work full time jobs and give plasma to supplement their income.
New Measure of Success (04:03)
Just Capital ranks companies on traits such as worker treatment, worker pay, and sustainability without including profit margins. BMW implemented a school to job program which trains students in mechanics and robotics. Mark Bertolini increased Aetna's minimum wage to $16 per hour and helps pay off student loans.
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