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The Middle Class

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13 Segments




How Brazil Lives Now, In 'Neighboring Sounds.'

Brazilian culture is often portrayed as either joyful folk tradition or brutal gang violence. But Kleber Mendonca Filho's Neighboring Sounds penetrates into the daily lives of suburban Brazilians — and critic John Powers says it may be the best Brazilian film since the '70s.


How the Middle Has Entered the Stock Market

Fortune Magazine's senior editor Joe Nocera and Ron Chernow. They can both be seen in the new Frontline documentary "Betting on the Market." The documentary is based in part on Nocera's 1994 book, "A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class." It traces America's obsession with Wall Street, and looks at the consequences. Nocera serves as correspondent in the film. Chernow is the author of "The House of Morgan," which received a National Book Award in 1990.


How Tax Policies Places a Burden on the Middle Class

Philadelphia Inquirer investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele. The two talk with Terry Gross about why campaign promises related to taxes should be carefully scrutinized. They say if you want to know how a 15 percent tax cut would help you, you need to look at how it would impact all of the taxes you pay. They say that often the highest tax rates are found at the state or local level.


How Foreign Trade Policies Cost U.S. Jobs

Pulitzer Prize winning Philadelphia Inquirer reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele. "Barlett and Steele" as they are often referred to in Philly, are writing a new ten part series in the Inquirer titled "Who Stole the Dream?" Barlett and Steele say American public policy is largely to blame for why many American jobs have been sent overseas. Barlett and Steele will publish these stories in book form later this year.


How Our Tax Systems Favors the Wealthy.

Journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele. Their reports from the front pages of the "Philadelphia Inquirer" later became the book "America: What went Wrong"; it was a bestseller for eight months, and added fuel to the fire of the 1992 Election. Their new book of investigative reporting is "America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?" (Simon & Schuster). They argue the middle class has been soaked by the current tax system; that the same dollar earned by a neighborhood grocer is taxed more than if it was earned by a foreign corporation doing business here.


The Anger and Pain of the Black Middle Class.

Contributing Editor and essayist for Newsweek magazine Ellis Cose. His new book, "The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why are Middle-Class Blacks Angry? Why Should America Care?" (HarperCollins) is about what many middle-class blacks feel, but few white americans understand: that middle-class blacks still struggle against racial stereotyping, discrimination, and alienation, despite their financial success and their best efforts to "play by the rules." Cose argues that many white americans make assumptions about Blacks which are at odds with reality.


On "Life and Death in Shanghai"

Nien Cheng and her husband were educated abroad and lived a comfortable, bourgeois life before China's Cultural Revolution. Though Cheng faced persecution, interrogation, and imprisonment, she was mostly able to maintain her lifestyle--and her loyalty to her country. She now lives in Washington, D.C.


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