Review: Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reeves addresses something that I've seen for a while but had trouble naming. He shows in many ways how the upper-middle class is essentially pulling up the ladder of opportunity in our culture just as much as the elites are in the ways they make personal choices--often canceling out or undermining the opportunities that they were afforded to get to their current economic status. Reeve explores how the tearing down of policies within education, finance, and public policy had been stalwarts to help grow the upper middle class, but that such policies are often being replaced with policy that benefits the upper-middle class in lieu of lower classes. Some of those policies include tax benefits around home-ownership, capital gains, college education, and the like. Reeves contends that every time there is an attempt to reassess these, the upper-middle class vociferously demands it stay in place--often to the detriment of other classes that could benefit from that redistribution. He contrasts this with the spoken desire by many within the upper-middle class that claim they want to see more programs that help poor, working and low-middle class families. A good example is college education wherein upper-middle-class families rely on legacies, merit-based scholarship (which is largely geared towards upper-middle class students), and increased chances of admission because of the family's wealth (e.g. familiarity with a campus increases chances of admission; for schools that are far away, upper-middle-class families can spare the resources to have their child visit the school several times). Ultimately, Reeves shows that the scales are already tipped in favor of upper-middle-class but they continue to want more at the sacrifice of opportunity for poor, working, and lower-middle class.

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