Social Issues

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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The Middle Class Index: Is The Dream Deferred?

By WGBH News   |   Wednesday, November 9, 2011
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Nov. 9, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Nov. 8 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — Greater Boston received exclusive access to research conducted by independent think tank MassINC about whether or not Massachusetts residents believe the American Dream is still attainable.

MassINC's report indicated that as many as one in three Mass. residents feel they are in danger of falling out of the middle class. The data shows that while the American dream is still attainable by some, others are finding it increasingly difficult to do the things that have historically symbolized success in the US, including owning a home, paying for college and saving enough money for retirement.

The news isn't all bad though. Mass. does fare better than most states in some areas. More residents are covered by health insurance, more students are going to college and more are graduating with a four-year degree.

Greater Boston ventured out to hear from Mass. residents about one benchmark of the American Dream: whether they feel they are better off today than their parents were. Then, MassINC researchers explained how they came to their conclusions and dug deeper into the findings.

Occupy Boston Grapples With Growing Movement

By WGBH News   |   Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Oct. 13, 2011


In early October, protesters in Boston's Dewey Square posted a list of needed supplies. Now the Occupy Boston group has about $10,000 in its coffers. (Wikimedia)

BOSTON — It's raining, there are no porta-potties and it's only going to get colder. But Occupy Boston protesters are holding on and organizing for the long haul.

Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger said about $10,000 of donations came in after Boston police arrested scores of activists in the early hours of Oct. 11.

"We realized that legally we couldn't just be taking donations in willy-nilly," Potteiger said during an interview with WGBH's Emily Rooney on Thursday. Taking a cue from Occupy Wall Street, "We found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit who was sympathetic to our cause and they've agreed to manage the money for us."

So far they've used the money just to print flyers, buttons and stickers, Potteiger said. The group, however, is forming an official finance committee to manage the money. High on the list: A bicycle-powered generator.

Rain is forecast through Friday.

'Occupy Boston' Protestors Gather In The Hub

By Toni Waterman   |   Tuesday, October 4, 2011
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Oct. 5, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 3 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — With a blue and white megaphone, a member of the Occupy Boston camp asks fellow demonstrators how they should welcome the homeless into their movement.

In near unison, the group responded, "we welcome everybody."

This is the population of Occupy Boston: a mishmash of young, old, unemployed, employed, all outraged over what they see as an untenable economic divide.

"I think something that everyone here is thinking about is the fact that one percent of Americans control 50 percent of the wealth in this country," said Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger. "A lot of people feel like their voices are being undermined by the fact that there's so much money in special interest — corporate interest in Washington — that their voices are not being heard," Potteiger said.

So since Friday night, Occupy Boston has brought their message to the Financial District's Dewey Square, transforming it into a makeshift tent city. Potteiger, who's an unemployed college grad, says he's concerned about his job prospects.

"Forty-five percent of people 16 to 29 are unemployed and 85 percent of people who graduated in 2011 moved back in with their parents. This is the issue facing my generation," Potteiger said.

Occupy Boston is an unaffiliated spin-off of New York's Occupy Wall Street, a group in its third week of protests. Over the weekend, 700 protesters were arrested for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. And similar protests have cropped up across the country, including Vermont and Los Angeles. "Stop the corruption on Wall Street," yelled one L.A. protestor.

Here in Boston, the message is the same. A demonstrator who would only give his name as Patrick says he quit his job so he could join the protest.

"My benefits for one person were almost $300 a month," he said, a red bandana hiding most of his face. "That's half my rent right there. So I had to choose between living somewhere or having health insurance."

Fellow protestor David Trauterman, barefoot and holding a sign, said he's looking to end all injustice. "I'm here for a larger movement than just Occupy Boston. I'm here for a revolution of humanity. We need to stop working against each other and come together as one."

But for the most part, the group's intentions are elusive. There are no clear objectives and protestors are making no demands. But demonstrator Nadeem Mazen said knowing what they want so early would be premature.

"I think it's unusual to want to have clear objectives this early. We're saying that we represent the 99 percent and that many of those in the 1 percent use that wealth in order to undermine the democratic process. It's flatly wrong. And it's not democracy," Mazen said.

Sheena Iyengar Author of The Art Of Choosing

Thursday, April 28, 2011
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About the Authors
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 


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