On this week’s episode of Banter, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Richard Reeves discusses his book “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.” The book argues that the top 20 percent of income earners in America are increasingly passing their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility for the bottom 80 percent. “Dream Hoarders” received considerable attention upon its release in 2017. Check out the links below for more information including a review of the book by AEI Director of Economic Policy Studies Michael Strain.

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We’ve grown accustomed to hearing a lot about the one percent. Yet it’s the “favored fifth” – the top 20 percent of the income distribution – that Brookings Senior Fellow Richard Reeves asserts is the greater problem. “The rhetoric of ‘We are the 99 percent,’” Reeves writes, “has in fact been dangerously self-serving.” From supporters of Elizabeth Warren to Donald Trump, upper middle class Americans everywhere claim they want to unrig the system. But far more than they’d like to admit, they are the ones who are rigging it. From exclusionary zoning policy to the mortgage-interest deduction to the 529 college savings plans, the upper middle class constructs glass floors for their children, perpetuating inequality and impeding social mobility for the remaining 80 percent of Americans. Richard Reeves joins me to discuss all this and his recent book, 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.

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