[00:00.81]During the past generation,
[00:02.52]the American middle-class family that once could count on hard work
[00:07.18]and fair play to keep itself financially secure
[00:11.09]has been transformed by economic risk and new realities.
[00:15.32]Now a pink slip, a bad diagnosis,
[00:18.01]or a disappearing spouse can reduce a family from solidly middle class
[00:23.31]to newly poor in a few months.
[00:26.25]In just one generation, millions of mothers have gone to work,
[00:30.89]transforming basic family economics.
[00:36.39]and critics of all stripes have debated the social implications of these changes,
[00:42.15]but few have looked at the side effect:
[00:45.50]family risk has risen as well.
[00:48.22]Today’s families have budgeted to the limits
[00:51.59]of their new two-paycheck status.
[00:54.05]As a result, they have lost the parachute they once had in times of financial setback—
[01:00.36]a back-up earner (usually Mom) who could go into the workforce if the primary earner
[01:06.45]got laid off on fell sick.
[01:09.35]This “added-worker effect” could support the safety net offered by unemployment insurance
[01:15.42]or disability insurance to help families weather bad times.
[01:20.16]But today, a disruption to family fortunes can no longer be made up
[01:25.53]with extra income from an otherwise-stay-at-home partner.
[01:30.40]During the same period,
[01:33.04]families have been asked to absorb much more risk in their retirement income.
[01:42.50]and now those it the auto industry are joining millions of families
[01:47.37]who must worry about interest rates,
[01:50.04]stock market fluctuation,
[01:52.05]and the harsh reality that they may outlive their retirement money.
[01:56.71]For much of the past year,
[01:58.73]President Bush campaigned to move Social Security to a savings-account model,
[02:04.39]with retirees trading much or all of their guaranteed payments
[02:09.66]for payments depending on investment returns.
[02:13.30]For younger families,
[02:14.87]the picture is not any better.
[02:17.00]Both the absolute cost of healthcare and share of it borne
[02:21.78]by families have risen—
[02:23.80]and newly fashionable health-savings plans are spreading
[02:27.42]from legislative halls to Wal-Mart workers,
[02:31.09]with much higher deductibles and a large new dose of investment risk
[02:36.58]for families’ future healthcare.
[02:39.50]Even demographics are working against the middle class family,
[02:43.52]as the odds of having a weak elderly parent—
[02:46.86]and all the attendant need for physical and financial assistance—
[02:51.23]have jumped eightfold in just one generation.
[02:54.75]From the middle-class family perspective, much of this,
[02:58.74]understandably, looks far less like an opportunity to exercise more financial responsibility,
[03:05.75]and a good deal more like a frightening acceleration
[03:09.72]of the wholesale shift of financial risk onto their already overburdened shoulders.
[03:15.92]The financial fallout has begun, and the political fallout may not be far behind.内容来自 听力课堂网：http://www.tingclass.net/show-8686-251467-1.html