In 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 ( Brookings Institution Press 2017), Richard V. Reeves tells us that between 1979 and 2013 real income for the bottom 80% of American earners rose by only 41% while the top 20% rose by an astounding 88%.
The author contends that the upper middle class is unaware of the detriment that they are causing. In fact, they tend to blame the top 1% for our collective economic ills. Their focus on appearance, achievement and affluence keeps them from seeing the entire picture. Reeves writes that exclusionary zoning, college legacy policies and internships acquired through family connections, give upper middle class children an unfair advantage to better K-12 education, choice college entry and intern opportunities not based on merit or real ability.
There have been attempts to outlaw these unfair advantages, but they have gone unchanged. The upper middle class has cut themselves off from the bottom 80% believing they only have themselves to thank for their accomplishments. By isolating themselves, they seem to have lost empathy for average Americans and when they go to the polls, they vote to protect their own interests and not for what is good for America. They are squashing upper mobility for the bottom 80% and keeping it for themselves through unfair laws and policies. They have forgotten fairness.