It's just before lunchtime at Shirley's Restaurant & Bar on Curtis Avenue. Waitresses serve up coffee and soup while two corner televisions compete with "Perry Mason" and "The Price is Right."
Rose Brady, a 30-year-old waitress, is asked what price is right to get you into the middle class.
"At least in the 20s," she said.
And where does the middle class end? "Probably about $28,000," she said. "Probably you're in the upper class, especially if two people are earning that."
She is told that some congressional middle-class tax bills would reserve most benefits for those families with yearly incomes greater than $50,000.
"Really?" she asks with wide eyes. She notes that her monthly income is about $600. It barely covers her bills, she says, repeating the refrain of many: "week to week."