Coping With Recession Around The U.S.

Staying In Touch

Follow David Greene as he travels the country, and help him find interesting stories along the way.

A roadside going-out-of-business sign for a hardware store on I-75 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. i

A roadside sign reveals the plight of a hardware store off Interstate 75 just south of the Canadian border. Our "100 Days" tour spans I-75 from Michigan to Florida, then heads to points west before returning to Washington, D.C. David Greene/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Greene/NPR
A roadside going-out-of-business sign for a hardware store on I-75 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

A roadside sign reveals the plight of a hardware store off Interstate 75 just south of the Canadian border. Our "100 Days" tour spans I-75 from Michigan to Florida, then heads to points west before returning to Washington, D.C.

David Greene/NPR

When President Obama took office Tuesday, he inherited what he calls "the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression." Americans are losing jobs. Families are losing homes. Workers are seeing retirement savings vanish. Communities are cutting services. People are facing difficult decisions that seemed unimaginable a year ago.

In any modern presidency, the first 100 days are considered a yardstick for what can be accomplished in a first term. In 2009, the new president faces a global financial crisis and the need to restore the confidence of Americans.

To mark this crucial period, NPR has decided to launch its own "100 Days" project. We're setting off on a 100-day road trip around the U.S. Our broad goal is simple: To come away with a portrait of the country in these defining times. And we'd like your help putting it together.

For the first phase, we set off after Inauguration Day on a monthlong trip along Interstate 75, beginning in Michigan. The state's pride and economy are tied to the struggling auto industry.

We'll slice through the heart of the industrial Midwest and end up in Florida. From Americans along the way — snowmobilers, auto suppliers, bankers, farmers, parents, retirees, college students, everyone who will talk to us — we'll hear about the decisions they're facing and how the economy has affected their plans and hopes. We'll seek a better understanding of the challenges facing President Obama.

After that, from points yet to be determined, we'll spend a few weeks exploring the massive economic stimulus package that Obama is expected to push through Congress. How is the plan helping the farmer in Iowa, or the cash-strapped family in Virginia? We'll pick apart the policies and try to understand the impact on Americans' lives and mood.

Finally, we'll spend the last month or so driving across the country, coast to coast, measuring the president's appeal and success in his first 100 days. Are homeowners in California and Nevada feeling like the worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed? Are young professionals in Denver feeling more confident about investing in the markets? Have laid-off aluminum workers in Pittsburgh found new work, or at least new ways to get by?

We'll land finally in Washington, D.C., to deliver our final report.

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