Twenty-two years ago, Bill Moyers started documenting the story of two ordinary middle-class families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — families whose breadwinners had lost well-paying factory jobs. Relying on the belief that hard work is the key to a good living and better life, the Stanleys and the Neumanns, like millions of others, went about pursuing the American dream. But as they found other jobs, got re-trained, and worked any time and overtime, they still found themselves on a downward slope, working harder and longer for less pay and fewer benefits, facing devastating challenges and difficult choices. Bill Moyers first chronicled the personal stories of the Stanleys and Neumanns in Minimum Wages: The New Economy in 1990; revisiting them again in 1995 in Living on the Edge, and again in the 2000 documentary Surviving the Good Times. The latest update entitled Two American Families aired on FRONTLINE on July 9, 2013, and it is absolutely brilliant. You can watch Moyers’ most recent profile of the Stanleys and Neumanns in full below, and be sure to also watch Moyers’ conversation with Charlie Rose about the documentary which he affectionately regards as the greatest personal achievement of his remarkable and impressive career.
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