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Letter from America: The middle-class dream is over

Regulars | By Philip Delves Broughton | October 2017


On the thirtieth anniversary of Black Monday, crisis looms again

As a child, I spent several summers with my cousins who lived in a suburb about 45 minutes outside Washington DC. This was the late Seventies, early Eighties, and I remember the heat of Virginia in August, and the air-conditioned house. Fresh orange juice in the fridge. Bologna sandwiches. The kidney-shaped community swimming pool. The hamburgers in sesame seed buns at Roy Rogers. And my uncle Ronald’s Oldsmobile with its blue-leather bench seat in the front, where three of us boys could squeeze in. Best was the all-day TV, and the VHS for watching Bruce Lee films, a couple every morning with lurid bowls of breakfast cereal. Back in Northampton, where I grew up, the test card stayed on-screen from late morning until mid-afternoon, and the only person we knew with a pool was our local GP, and it was freezing. Woodbridge, Virginia, seemed like heaven. The lure was so...

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