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Robert Samuelson: Who's Hoarding The American Dream?

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17.07.2017

To hear Richard Reeves tell it, the upper middle class is fast becoming the bane of American society. Its members have entrenched themselves just below the top 1% and protect their privileged position through public policy and private behavior. Americans cherish the belief that they live in a mobile society, where hard work and imagination are rewarded. The upper middle class is destroying this faith, because it's impeding poorer Americans from getting ahead.

That conclusion is dead wrong, but it contains just enough truth to seem plausible. We need to separate fact from fiction.

Reeves, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, makes his case in a new book titled "Dream Hoarders," as in the American Dream. The hoarding refers to all the economic opportunities that the upper middle class is allegedly manipulating for itself. Zoning restrictions segregate the upper middle class into economically homogeneous neighborhoods, with the best schools. This provides an advantage in getting into selective colleges, leading to better internships and jobs.

All this is self-perpetuating,........

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