Front Cover, Flap

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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1. Hoarding the Dream

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pp. 1-16

At the end of January 2015, Barack Obama suffered an acute political embarrassment. A proposal from the bud get he’d sent to Congress was dead on arrival—but it was the president himself who killed it.
The idea was sensible, simple, and progressive. Remove the tax benefits from 529 college saving plans, ...

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2. A Class Apart

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pp. 17-36

Drawing class distinctions feels almost un-American. The nation’s self-image is of a classless society, one in which every individual is of equal moral worth, regardless of his or her economic status. This has been how the world sees the United States, too. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that Americans were “seen to be more equal in fortune and intelligence—more equally strong, ...

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3. Growing Gains

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pp. 37-56

When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes threaten my brother and me with electrocution. Well, that’s not quite right. In fact the threat was of lessons in elocution, but we—wittily, we thought—renamed them. Growing up in a very ordinary town just north of London and attending a very ordinary high school, ...

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4. Inheriting Class

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pp. 57-74

In his second Inaugural Address, Barack Obama declared: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”1 ...

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5. Market Merit

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pp. 75-94

America has a meritocratic market but an unfair society. The labor market does a good job of rewarding the kind of “merit” that adds economic value—skills, knowledge, intelligence. The unfairness lies not in the competition itself but in the chances to prepare for it. ...

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6. Opportunity Hoarding

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pp. 95-122

In a confessional article, “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans,” writer Neal Gabler explained how even apparently successful people can struggle to put aside enough money to tide them over in an emergency. Despite his financial difficulties, however, Gabler found a way to ensure that his children got a great education, including private schooling. ...

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7. Sharing the Dream

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pp. 123-152

Before being granted C.S. Citizenship, I had to pass a civics test. One of the questions was this: Why did the original colonists leave Britain to start a new life in the new world? On the list of officially endorsed answers, along with “religious freedom” and “to escape from persecution,” ...

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8. Check Our Privilege

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pp. 153-156

Talking to friends and colleagues about the themes in this book, I have discovered that it is hard for those of us in the upper middle class to admit that we are part of the in equality problem. But once we do, there is an upside. We can be part of the solution, too. ...

Notes

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pp. 157-186

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 187-188

This book draws on work I’ve been doing at Brookings over the last two to three years. I am grateful to a number of colleagues and former colleagues for their support and advice, especially Ted Gayer, Ron Haskins, Edward Rodrigue, Scott Winship, Gary Burtless, Joanna Venator, Kimberly Howard, ...

Index

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pp. 189-196

Back Cover, Flap

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