Frontline: ‘Two American Families’

It’s a central premise of the American dream: If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be able to make a living and build a better life for your children.

But what if working hard isn’t enough to ensure success—or even the basics of daily life?

In Two American Families, Bill Moyers revisits the Neumanns and Stanleys, whom we first met in his 1992 PBS documentary Minimum Wages: The New Economy. Back then, the breadwinners in both families had just been laid off from well-paying factory jobs after corporate downsizing.

With poignant and revealing intimacy, Two American Families chronicles the Neumanns' and Stanleys' struggles from 1992 up through the present as they try to hold onto their homes, their jobs and a future for their children.

Where are they now? Have their efforts paid off? And what does their story say about the fate of the middle class in the new American economy?


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