Can TV Women Have It All?

An in-depth Flavorwire investigation into the fall TV schedule shows that we are indeed obsessed with the question of whether American women can “have it all” — lacking, as we do here, any kind of real social safety net or infrastructure for working moms. Basically it’s like a reality show everyday for many of us: Can we achieve reasonable success in our personal *and* professional lives without paid maternity leave, subsidized quality child care, or guaranteed health insurance?? And can we remain attractive while we’re at it? TUNE IN TONIGHT, AFTER “JERSEY SHORE.”

Not surprisingly, the results are mixed:

This year, we are blessed with so many different women: a detective who struggles to balance her work and personal life, a Secretary of State who struggles to balance her work and personal life, a CIA analyst who struggles to balance her work and personal life, and so on. Once again, TV wants to know: Can women have it all? …

The best plot description is of the fictionalized sitcom version of The Life of Hillary Clinton, which is an actual real thing that’s happening whether we like it or not, starring Tea Leoni: 

Chart: The Hollowing Out of Middle Class Jobs

Charts! We love them. We've talked a lot about how low wage jobs have overwhelmingly replaced the mid-wage jobs lost during the financial crisis. Data from the National Employment Law Project shows this, and new data from Goldman Sachs and the Department of Labor also supports this. More importantly the Goldman Sachs reports shows that the "hollowing out in the middle is real, it is not unique to the post-crisis period," which means that we can't just blame this on the financial crisis—there has been rapid growth in the low-wage sector since the booming '90s.

The Rise of the Global Middle-Class

Francis Fukuyama's Saturday essay in WSJ examined the rise of the new global middle class and what they're doing to challenge the status quo. "It would be a grave mistake to think, 'It can't happen here,'" Fukuyama, a fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, warns.

Canada Reminds Man Of Better Times

I recently traveled through parts of the Canadian Maritime provinces. As an American, I found the economic equanimity there almost jolting; there seemed to exist a vast and comfortable middle class, with little evidence of poverty or great wealth. It also felt vaguely familiar. Then I recollected: This was the America I grew up in, in the 1960s.

Where the Middle Class Can’t Afford a House

Atlantic Cities looks at the metro areas in the U.S. where homes are least affordable for middle class families (or families earning the median income in the area)—San Francisco being the worst, according to an analysis by real estate site Trulia. New York, of course, also makes it near the top of the list, but New York is a city of renters (and I imagine San Francisco is one too). Where is the housing stock most affordable for median earners? Cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan make the list, which you can see in full below.

How Africa’s Middle Class Does Money

The BBC recently asked two Ivory Coast residents—one middle class, living on $20 a day, and one surviving just above the poverty line at $2 a day—how they get by.

The Erosion of the Middle Class Via the Business World

In the Times, Nelson Schwartz looks at the erosion of the middle class via indicators in the business world—stores like Loehmann's, J.C. Penney, and Sears and restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden have declined in the past few years while businesses like Barneys which sell high-end goods, and bargain basement chains like Dollar Tree have seen gains on opposite ends:

Hope for America’s Middle Class and Poor

Robert Reich, the secretary of labor from 1993 to 1997 and a professor of public policy at UC-Berkeley, recently met with one of his mentors, a veteran activist in his 80s who witnessed the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s, and is continuing to fight for social justice and economic inequality. Reich's mentor, who isn't named, believes that inequality will diminish as demographics shift and women gain more economic power. Hopefully, it won't take 50 more years for that to happen.

India’s Elite/”Middle Class”

India Ink, the Times's blog about India, examined class and politics in regards to India's elite, who have incentives to "masquerade" as the middle class.