Dream Hoarders

Author: Richard V. Reeves
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
ISBN: 9780815735496
Release Date: 2018-06-12
Genre: Political Science

Dream Hoarders sparked a national conversation on the dangerous separation between the upper middle class and everyone else. Now in paperback and newly updated for the age of Trump, Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard Reeves is continuing to challenge the class system in America. In America, everyone knows that the top 1 percent are the villains. The rest of us, the 99 percent—we are the good guys. Not so, argues Reeves. The real class divide is not between the upper class and the upper middle class: it is between the upper middle class and everyone else. The separation of the upper middle class from everyone else is both economic and social, and the practice of “opportunity hoarding”—gaining exclusive access to scarce resources—is especially prevalent among parents who want to perpetuate privilege to the benefit of their children. While many families believe this is just good parenting, it is actually hurting others by reducing their chances of securing these opportunities. There is a glass floor created for each affluent child helped by his or her wealthy, stable family. That glass floor is a glass ceiling for another child. Throughout Dream Hoarders, Reeves explores the creation and perpetuation of opportunity hoarding, and what should be done to stop it, including controversial solutions such as ending legacy admissions to school. He offers specific steps toward reducing inequality and asks the upper middle class to pay for it. Convinced of their merit, members of the upper middle class believes they are entitled to those tax breaks and hoarded opportunities. After all, they aren’t the 1 percent. The national obsession with the super rich allows the upper middle class to convince themselves that they are just like the rest of America. In Dream Hoarders, Reeves argues that in many ways, they are worse, and that changes in policy and social conscience are the only way to fix the broken system.

Dream Hoarders

Author: Richard V. Reeves
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
ISBN: 9780815729136
Release Date: 2017-05-23
Genre: Social Science

America is becoming a class-based society. It is now conventional wisdom to focus on the wealth of the top 1 percent—especially the top 0.01 percent—and how the ultra-rich are concentrating income and prosperity while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant. But the most important, consequential, and widening gap in American society is between the upper middle class and everyone else. Reeves defines the upper middle class as those whose incomes are in the top 20 percent of American society. Income is not the only way to measure a society, but in a market economy it is crucial because access to money generally determines who gets the best quality education, housing, health care, and other necessary goods and services. As Reeves shows, the growing separation between the upper middle class and everyone else can be seen in family structure, neighborhoods, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those at the top of the income ladder are becoming more effective at passing on their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility. The result is not just an economic divide but a fracturing of American society along class lines. Upper-middle-class children become upper-middle-class adults. These trends matter because the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of “opportunity hoarding” among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships. Upper-middle-class opportunity hoarding, Reeves argues, results in a less competitive economy as well as a less open society. Inequality is inevitable and can even be good, within limits. But Reeves argues that society can take effective action to reduce opportunity hoarding and thus promote broader opportunity. This fascinating book shows how American society has become the very class-defined society that earlier Americans rebelled against—and what can be done to restore a more equitable society.

Dream Hoarders

Author: Richard V. Reeves
Publisher:
ISBN: 081572912X
Release Date: 2017-06-13
Genre: Business & Economics

America is becoming a class-based society. It is now conventional wisdom to focus on the wealth of the top 1 percent--especially the top 0.01 percent--and how the ultra-rich are concentrating income and prosperity while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant. But the most important, consequential, and widening gap in American society is between the upper middle class and everyone else. Reeves defines the upper middle class as those whose incomes are in the top 20 percent of American society. Income is not the only way to measure a society, but in a market economy it is crucial because access to money generally determines who gets the best quality education, housing, health care, and other necessary goods and services. As Reeves shows, the growing separation between the upper middle class and everyone else can be seen in family structure, neighborhoods, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those at the top of the income ladder are becoming more effective at passing on their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility. The result is not just an economic divide but a fracturing of American society along class lines. Upper-middle-class children become upper-middle-class adults. These trends matter because the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of "opportunity hoarding” among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships. Upper-middle-class opportunity hoarding, Reeves argues, results in a less competitive economy as well as a less open society. Inequality is inevitable and can even be good, within limits. But Reeves argues that society can take effective action to reduce opportunity hoarding and thus promote broader opportunity. This fascinating book shows how American society has become the very class-defined society that earlier Americans rebelled against--and what can be done to restore a more equitable society.

Saving Horatio Alger

Author: Richard V. Reeves
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
ISBN: 9780815726487
Release Date: 2014-08-20
Genre: Political Science

THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.

The Sum of Small Things

Author: Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400884698
Release Date: 2017-05-15
Genre: Social Science

How the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite, and how their consumer habits affect us all In today’s world, the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite. Highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket, these individuals earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breast-feed their babies. They care about discreet, inconspicuous consumption—like eating free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, wearing organic cotton shirts and TOMS shoes, and listening to the Serial podcast. They use their purchasing power to hire nannies and housekeepers, to cultivate their children’s growth, and to practice yoga and Pilates. In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society “the aspirational class” and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption,” Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone.

The Hidden Rules of Race

Author: Andrea Flynn
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108417549
Release Date: 2017-09-30
Genre: Business & Economics

This book explores the racial rules that are often hidden but perpetuate vast racial inequities in the United States.

The Broken Ladder

Author: Keith Payne
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698409378
Release Date: 2017-05-02
Genre: Social Science

A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality. Today’s inequality is on a scale that none of us has seen in our lifetimes, yet this disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically, but has profound consequences for how we think, how our cardiovascular systems respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral ideas like justice and fairness. Experiments in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics have not only revealed important new insights on how inequality changes people in predictable ways, but have provided a corrective to our flawed way of viewing poverty as the result of individual character failings. Among modern, developed societies, economic inequality is not primarily about money, but rather about relative status: where we stand in relation to other people. Regardless of their average income, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social problems we associate with poverty, including lower average life expectancies, serious health issues, mental illness, and crime. The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, and have them younger; why there is little trust among the working class that investing for the future will pay off; why people’s perception of their relative social status affects their political beliefs, and why growing inequality leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels in the same way as a physical threat; inequality in the workplace, and how it affects performance; why unequal societies become more religious; and finally offers measures people can take to lessen the harm done by inequality in their own lives and the lives of their children.

Toxic Inequality

Author: Thomas M. Shapiro
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465094875
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Business & Economics

"Everyone concerned about the toxic effects of inequality must read this book."--Robert B. Reich "This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read on economic inequality in the US."--William Julius Wilson Since the Great Recession, most Americans' standard of living has stagnated or declined. Economic inequality is at historic highs. But inequality's impact differs by race; African Americans' net wealth is just a tenth that of white Americans, and over recent decades, white families have accumulated wealth at three times the rate of black families. In our increasingly diverse nation, sociologist Thomas M. Shapiro argues, wealth disparities must be understood in tandem with racial inequities--a dangerous combination he terms "toxic inequality." In Toxic Inequality, Shapiro reveals how these forces combine to trap families in place. Following nearly two hundred families of different races and income levels over a period of twelve years, Shapiro's research vividly documents the recession's toll on parents and children, the ways families use assets to manage crises and create opportunities, and the real reasons some families build wealth while others struggle in poverty. The structure of our neighborhoods, workplaces, and tax code-much more than individual choices-push some forward and hold others back. A lack of assets, far more common in families of color, can often ruin parents' careful plans for themselves and their children. Toxic inequality may seem inexorable, but it is not inevitable. America's growing wealth gap and its yawning racial divide have been forged by history and preserved by policy, and only bold, race-conscious reforms can move us toward a more just society.

Suburb

Author: Royce Hanson
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9781501708077
Release Date: 2017-03-01
Genre: Political Science

Land-use policy is at the center of suburban political economies because everything has to happen somewhere but nothing happens by itself. In Suburb, Royce Hanson explores how well a century of strategic land-use decisions served the public interest in Montgomery County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Transformed from a rural hinterland into the home a million people and a half-million jobs, Montgomery County built a national reputation for innovation in land use policy—including inclusive zoning, linking zoning to master plans, preservation of farmland and open space, growth management, and transit-oriented development. A pervasive theme of Suburb involves the struggle for influence over land use policy between two virtual suburban republics. Developers, their business allies, and sympathetic officials sought a virtuous cycle of market-guided growth in which land was a commodity and residents were customers who voted with their feet. Homeowners, environmentalists, and their allies saw themselves as citizens and stakeholders with moral claims on the way development occurred and made their wishes known at the ballot box. In a book that will be of particular interest to planning practitioners, attorneys, builders, and civic activists, Hanson evaluates how well the development pattern produced by decades of planning decisions served the public interest.

Our Divided Political Heart

Author: E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781608194384
Release Date: 2013-01-29
Genre: Political Science

"Tea Partiers and Occupiers alike may be surprised and enlightened by this lucid analysis, all the more convincing for its sympathetic treatment of both sides of the argument."-Publishers Weekly

Out of the Dust

Author: Karen Hesse
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
ISBN: 9780545517126
Release Date: 2012-09-01
Genre: Juvenile Fiction

"Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . ." A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better -- playing the piano -- is impossible with her wounded hands. To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma -- and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.

Cultivating Food Justice

Author: Alison Hope Alkon
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262016261
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Science

Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. These communities have been actively prevented from producing their own food and often live in "food deserts" where fast food is more common than fresh food. Cultivating Food Justice describes their efforts to envision and create environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to the food system. Bringing together insights from studies of environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, critical race theory, and food studies, Cultivating Food Justice highlights the ways race and class inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption. The studies offered in the book explore a range of important issues, including agricultural and land use policies that systematically disadvantage Native American, African American, Latino/a, and Asian American farmers and farmworkers; access problems in both urban and rural areas; efforts to create sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color; and future directions for the food justice movement. These diverse accounts of the relationships among food, environmentalism, justice, race, and identity will help guide efforts to achieve a just and sustainable agriculture.

The Vanishing Middle Class

Author: Peter Temin
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262036160
Release Date: 2017-03-17
Genre: Business & Economics

Why the United States has developed an economy divided between rich and poor and how racism helped bring this about.

The Third Lie

Author: Richard J Gelles
Publisher: Left Coast Press
ISBN: 9781611320527
Release Date: 2011-10-31
Genre: Education

Richard Gelles explains why government programs designed to cure social ills don't work in sector after sector and why they should be replaced with a universal entitlement at lower cost.

Uneasy Street

Author: Rachel Sherman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400888504
Release Date: 2017-08-22
Genre: Social Science

A surprising and revealing look at how today's elite view their own wealth and place in society From TV’s “real housewives” to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on “easy street”? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers—including hedge fund financiers and corporate lawyers, professors and artists, and stay-at-home mothers—to examine their lifestyle choices and their understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing and displaying social advantages for themselves and their children. Instead, these liberal elites, who believe in diversity and meritocracy, feel conflicted about their position in a highly unequal society. They wish to be “normal,” describing their consumption as reasonable and basic and comparing themselves to those who have more than they do rather than those with less. These New Yorkers also want to see themselves as hard workers who give back and raise children with good values, and they avoid talking about money. Although their experiences differ depending on a range of factors, including whether their wealth was earned or inherited, these elites generally depict themselves as productive and prudent, and therefore morally worthy, while the undeserving rich are lazy, ostentatious, and snobbish. Sherman argues that this ethical distinction between “good” and “bad” wealthy people characterizes American culture more broadly, and that it perpetuates rather than challenges economic inequality. As the distance between rich and poor widens, Uneasy Street not only explores the real lives of those at the top but also sheds light on how extreme inequality comes to seem ordinary and acceptable to the rest of us.