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UIAA Speaker Series | “How Healthy is the American Middle Class?”

Join us for an Alumni College webinar on September 29 at 6 PM CDT with Professor of the Sociology Department Dr. Kevin T. Leicht.

In 1979, Dr. Kevin Leicht walked into the Omaha National Bank in Omaha, Nebraska, and declared that he wanted to apply for a credit card. The banker nearly fell off his chair and then exclaimed, “We don’t give credit cards to college students!” By the 1990s, college students were getting credit card offers in the mail, people were getting mortgages for homes with no proof of income (and no money down), you could buy or lease a car with no money down, and the American economy looked healthy.

But underneath the rosy facade, there were serious problems. Real wages for most people were stagnant or falling. Jobs were becoming less stable. It took two full-time workers’ earnings to pay for things one full-time worker could once afford. People were working for longer hours and many were up to their ears in debt.

In this seminar we’ll take a brief look at the post-1980s history of the middle class and examine its overall health now. How did this happen and what do things look like now?