Who is the American working class? Do they still have a fair shot at the American Dream? What do they think about their chances to secure the hallmarks of a middle-class life?
While writing this book, Batya Ungar-Sargon visited states across the nation to speak with members of the American working-class fighting tooth and nail to survive. In Second Class, working-class Americans of all races, political orientations, and occupations share their stories—cleaning ladies, health care aides, cops, truck drivers, fast food workers, electricians, and more. In their own words, these working-class Americans explain the struggles and triumphs of their increasingly precarious lives—as well as what policies they think would improve them. Second Class combines deep reporting with a look at the data and expert opinion on America’s emergent class divide, in which the most basic elements of a secure and stable life are increasingly out of reach for those without a college education.
America has broken its contract with its laboring class. So, how do we get back to the American Dream? How do we once again become the land of opportunity, the promised land where hard work and commitment to family are enough to protect you from poverty? It’s not that hard actually. All it would take, as this book illustrates, is for those in power to once again respect the dignity of work—and the American worker.