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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?

Sep 29, 2022 06:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Dr. Kevin Leicht
Kevin T. Leicht is Professor of the Sociology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former Chair of the Department of Sociology and Director of the Iowa Social Science Research Center at The University of Iowa and past Program Officer for the Sociology and Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research Program at the National Science Foundation. He has written extensively on issues relating to economic development, globalization, and political sociology, his work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Spencer Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, and his published articles have appeared in numerous outlets. His current research examines the consequences of cultural fragmentation and social media misinformation on cultural and political life.