"THE NEW NORMAL" � HOW AMERICAN LIFE IS CHANGING WITH THE ECONOMY
Airing on "20/20," Friday, June 19
What is the "new normal?" The current recession has had immediate effects on the lives of Americans in ways big and small, from foreclosures and lost jobs to less cash for food and basic living necessities. But even after the economic indicators begin to improve, what long-term changes will remain? "20/20" will air "The New Normal," an ABC News division-wide series on how America life, society and culture are changing, on FRIDAY, JUNE 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Reports include:
The New American Dream � As the economy bottoms out and recovers, what's going to happen to the American Dream? Will our goals and values be changed permanently? For better, or worse? Is bling and Botox out? Dan Harris' report includes a family in San Diego who had to re-evaluate their core values and return to a simpler life.
'Till Debt Do Us Part � Ed and Patty Andrews were able to buy their dream home in an upscale Maryland neighborhood without even having to say how much they earned every month. Simple, until the financial weight of a mortgage they couldn't afford began to sink their recent marriage. And if anyone should have avoided a risky mortgage it was Ed, a New York Times financial reporter who, just five years ago, warned about the rise in dangerous home mortgages. Elizabeth Vargas reports on an all too familiar story of a couple who maxed out their credit and is now not only fighting for financial stability, but for their marriage.
The Class of 2009 � With unemployment at a 16-year high and coveted jobs in investment banking and finance obliterated by the financial tsunami, where are the nation's best and brightest headed? Bianna Golodryga reports on graduates from the nation's top MBA programs, where only 50% say they have jobs lined up for next year, down from 60% last year.
Iceland � Bill Weir reports on the nation of fishermen who became millionaires, only to lose it all and return to fishing again... Iceland got rich very fast on borrowed money. Investment bankers bought fancy cars and built large houses. In the blink of an eye, they discovered homes they thought were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were less than worthless. Suddenly, this tiny island nation was "underwater." Now they wonder if they'll be able to catch enough fish to get themselves out of massive debt. And many Icelanders wonder if the root of their problems was gender based. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the risky, aggressive behavior that got Iceland into so much trouble was undertaken by men. Did too much testosterone cause the problem? Many in Iceland think so.
Adaptation and Innovation � Two old line industries/businesses that are rapidly ceasing to be profitable or viable and are now being forced to change in order to survive: the southern cotton farming plantations and the northern auto manufacturing business. Terry Moran reports on the spirit of innovation and adaptation that is required for survival and is the leading edge of the "new normal."
Charity � It is a cruel double whammy for those who depend upon the kindness of strangers. In the most brutal economy in generations, more people than ever are in need of a helping hand, while
the institutional charities they rely on are themselves reeling from plummeting donations. But as Deborah Roberts reports, as people may be reluctant to cut an anonymous check to huge organizations, there has been a rise in person-to-person philanthropy.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.