Oprah Discusses Social Class: Taboo Topic on Oprah

According to Oprah, social class in America is changing. People in the middle class have little savings and more debt and are getting closer to the lower class.

Professor Robert Reich Defines Modern Middle Class

One of Oprah’s experts on the show, Professor Robert Reich, discussed the definition of social class and gave advice to guests. He stated that social class depends on one’s education and income. According to Mr. Reich, America’s middle class is anyone making from 30,000 dollars to 70,000 dollars a year. He reported that a college education does matter when determining social class. For example, if someone has a college education and makes 25,000 dollars a year, he could consider himself middle class.

Guests on Oprah's Show Include Fired Anchorman, Recent College Grad

Haley, a college graduate, talked about her disappointment in being unemployed. She worked at an interior design firm and was laid off. Haley said that she thought she was doing everything right by going to college and participating in internships but feels discouraged after being unemployed for five months. Mr. Reich told Haley that the economy will get better and her college degree will help her in the future.


Wendy and Martin, a married couple, discussed their lack of support from friends when they had to close the doors on their businesses. Wendy said that her phone stopped ringing the day that she closed her second salon and spa. Wendy and Martin reported that they have become more empathetic and their hearts have opened up dramatically.

Television news anchor, Ernie Bjorkman, and his wife, Susan, were two of the guests on the show. They reported that Ernie was fired from his job after twenty-six successful years in the business. Ernie began to live his dream after he was fired by becoming a veterinarian’s assistant. He discussed loving animals and always wanting to work with animals. Ernie and Susan reported that they wouldn’t change things and “we’ve learned some good lessons.”

Johnson and Johnson Heir Jamie Johnson

Heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune, Jamie Johnson, discussed how the upper class has been affected by the decline in the economy. He reported that events, including charity events, are less full than they used to be. Celebrities don’t want to be seen flaunting their money and wearing designer labels. It has become cool to wear clothes from stores like H&M.

Jamie stated that some of the rich want to take this opportunity to become richer when Oprah asked if some members of the upper class were happy about the decline in the economy. Some of the rich have looked at the recession as a way to increase their fortune for generations to come.

The decline in the economy has affected each social class in different ways. Some people are benefiting from the recession and some are growing more discouraged by the inequality.

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