As a new American, Richard Reeves found the American ideal of equality and meritocracy refreshing, relative to the class-bound English traditions he grew up with—but he’s found the reality lacking. In his new 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, Reeves highlights the widening gap between the upper middle class and the rest of American society. Reeves makes the compelling case that advantages are concentrated – not just among the top 1 percent that we commonly hear about, but also among the top 20 percent of earners, including journalists, academics, policy analysts and professionals, people like him—and perhaps like you? He argues that members of America’s upper middle class are becoming more effective at passing on opportunities to their children, and while he applauds good parenting, he notes systemic advantages—in areas ranging from the tax code to institutional practices of higher education institutions—limit the abilities of parents lower down the income scale to help their children connect to the best opportunities, resulting in less social mobility overall.
How can we make our society more aligned with our ideals of openness and healthy competition? What can be done to create more equitable opportunities so that low- and moderate-income workers can attain stability and mobility? Join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program for the next event in our Working in America event series, a conversation about the issues of wealth, class, and opportunity in America, as we discuss a new book and new ideas with Richard Reeves. Books will be made available for sale and signing at the event.
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution
Executive Director, Economic Opportunities Program
Vice President for Policy Programs, The Aspen Institute
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This event is part of the Working in America series, an ongoing discussion series hosted by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program that highlights an array of critical issues affecting low- and moderate-income workers in the United States and ideas for improving and expanding economic opportunities for working people. For more information, visit
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