The end of the middle class: Why prosperity is failing in America

Sky-high rent, second jobs, and wealth-worshipping 1% TV shows—journalist Alissa Quart explains how the American dream became a dystopia, and why it's so hard for middle-class Americans to get by.

'Middle class' doesn't mean what it used to. Owning a home, two cars, and having a summer vacation to look forward to is a dream that's no longer possible for a growing percentage of American families. So what's changed? That safe and stable class has become shaky as unions collapsed, the gig economy surged, and wealth concentrated in the hands of the top 1%, the knock-on effects of which include sky-high housing prices, people working second jobs, and a cultural shift marked by 'one-percent' TV shows (and presidents). Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, explains how the American dream became a dystopia, and why it's so hard for middle-class Americans to get by. Alissa Quart is the author of Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America

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  • The study was conducted by researchers in China and the Netherlands.
  • In economic situations, wealthy people were found to be considerably more offended by unfairness.
  • Out of spite of feeling they are being treated unfairly, they'll reject an offer.

Words like entitled and privileged get thrown around a lot in conversations about wealth inequality. These terms are usually applied to the wealthy. But are there any measurable differences in the ways rich and poor people act out these traits when confronted with, say, an unfair deal? Research suggests there are.

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AI Can See America's Wealth Inequality From Space

Just by looking at satellite images, AI can predict your income bracket, and tell us what wealth and poverty look like from space.

Image: NASA

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