Dream Hoarders

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

eBook - 2018
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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.
Publisher: [United States] : Brookings Institution Press, 2018
ISBN: 9780815735496
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


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PimaLib_NormS Dec 27, 2017

Author, Brookings Institute fellow, and new American citizen, Richard Reeves, has written a thought-provoking book entitled “Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What To Do About It”. In addition to having one of the longest titles of the year, this book examines the difficult societal problem of class in a supposedly classless society. Most Americans believe that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful, that we live in a meritocracy, that all it takes to be a success is hard work and the drive to be all you can be. Yeah, well, maybe that’s true. But what if you aren’t in the upper and upper middle classes, and you have to compete with those that are? Wouldn’t, for example, those that have gone to good, well-funded schools, with the best teachers, have a sizable advantage? So then, wouldn’t that would make your lower class bootstraps shorter and more difficult to reach? And, while it isn’t easy to say to those upper middle class parents that they should not do all they possibly can for their children, Reeves posits that instead of hoarding those advantages for themselves, and widening the gap between those that have and those that don’t, our society would be closer to a real meritocracy, and to the ideal of a classless society, if opportunities to prepare oneself for success were shared more equitably with all socio-economic groups. Can anyone imagine that our divided society would ever come together on this subject? C’mon . . . it ain’t happenin’. But with “Dream Hoarders”, Reeves gives us plenty to ponder.

Sep 29, 2017

Short and easy to read with compelling diagrams. This is an original theme that has received a lot of press coverage and will hopefully spawn more investigative books. The author leaves lots of room for others to expand on how the hoarding of resources plays out in the lives of ordinary citizens. I found his "solutions" - what needs to happen to turn the situation around - to be entirely inadequate.

PimaLib_StephanieM Sep 11, 2017

I am on board with Reeves' case for a very real class system in the United States. It is hard to argue with any of the points he is making as they are well-researched and very clearly articulated. The finger in this book is pointing at me and I knew that going in. Despite the zinger of a title, Reeves isn't asking the "hoarders" to engage in self-flagellation but rather to honestly reconcile their values with the economic realities of their class. Reeves' portrait of the American upper-middle class, while convincing and backed up with loads of (very digestible) data, leans too heavily on the upper-middle class of the East Coast. His arguments apply to anyone in this income range but the anecdotes used to flesh out the numbers didn't portray this phenomenon beyond the East Coast prep school set stereotype. There is dream hoarding happening across the U.S. but Reeves didn't quite capture how it plays out regionally.

Aug 17, 2017

Full of clear diagrams, supporting evidence, and compelling citations, this book is logical and gentle in tone. Reeves has made this medicine as easy as possible for us to take by writing a book that is only 156 pages long and not accusatory in tone. Upper middle class Americans can be part of the solution to making our society fair.


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