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Cheers to the American Middle Class

Where, as it turns out, nobody knows your name.

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Marc Johns / Cast from Clay

Quick, give me the first answer to this question that comes to your head: What TV character is the archetype of the American middle class? Archie Bunker? Homer Simpson? Roseanne Conner? What about Cliff Huxtable? Dre Johnson? Or Jane Villanueva? On this episode, we dig into the huge, diverse swath of people that make up America’s middle class. And we ask if it’s possible to create one overarching policy that makes life better for them all — especially if you, yourself, only represent a small piece. Or may even have fallen out of touch entirely.

Listen and subscribe now on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyPocket Casts, or wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks.

GUESTS: Emily VanDerWerff, Vox; Anne Helen Petersen, Culture Study; Mari Faines, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Lori Latrice Martin, Louisiana State University


What TV Says About Race and Money, Salamishah Tillet, New York Times

10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great for 11 Seasons, Emily VanDerWerff, AV Club

America’s Hollow Middle Class, Anne Helen Petersen, Vox

America in Denial: How Race-Fair Policies Reinforce Racial Inequality in America, Lori Latrice Martin, SUNY Press

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.


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