Miller Center

American Forum - A Town Hall Meeting on the Middle Class and State of the American Dream

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

Martin Baron, Jennifer Marsico, Thomas A. Hirschl
October 2, 2013
6:00PM - 7:00PM (EDT)

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center will hold a town hall in Charlottesville on Wednesday, October 2 that will examine the shrinking of the middle class and its impact on the state of the American Dream. This event will launch the Milstein Symposium, a new Miller Center initiative that will address challenges facing the middle class.

The town hall, which begins at 6 pm, will focus on a soon-to-be-released Washington Post/Miller Center poll that is asking respondents about their financial security and what the American Dream means to them.

Participants will include MARTIN BARON, executive editor of The Washington Post, THOMAS A. HIRSCHL, co-author of Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shape Our Fortunes, and JENNIFER MARISCO, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute. It will be moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon, host of the Miller Center’s American Forum.

The town hall will be live streamed at It will later be broadcast on public television stations across the nation.

The size of the middle class has steadily decreased for the past four decades. In the early 2000s, middle-income households did not account for the largest percentage of U.S. aggregate household income for the first time. The town hall will explore critical questions regarding this trend and the future of the American Dream. What does the American Dream mean today?  What are the present challenges to achieving it?  How can we restore it?  What is the impact of emerging technologies?  Why is a robust and stable middle class vital to the nation’s future?

The Milstein Symposium will bring together policymakers, business leaders, scholars, and journalists to advance innovative and nonpartisan ideas to help rebuild the American Dream. The first year will focus on creating the jobs of the future, and three commissions will examine topics in manufacturing, entrepreneurship and self-employment, and infrastructure investment.

The Milstein Symposium is named for philanthropist, business and civic leader Howard P. Milstein. Milstein is chairman, president and chief executive officer of New York Private Bank and Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant Bank, the country's largest privately held bank.

The Miller Center has created a Facebook page where users can share what the American Dream means to them. The address is Twitter users can also tweet their thoughts to @Miller_Center, using the hashtag #AmericanDream

Martin Baron
Martin Baron
Jennifer Marsico
Jennifer Marsico
Thomas A. Hirschl
Thomas A. Hirschl

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