The Dreamers and The Hoarders: Class and Opportunity in Contemporary America

This post is the second in our Summer Reading Group series discussing recent books on the current state of American democracy.  

Richard Reeves. 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. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press, 2017.

By Cabell Willis ‘16

Our summer book club continues to explore the social trends underlying the current climate of American democracy with a fresh look at the problem of inequality in Richard Reeves’ new book Dream Hoarders: How the Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in The Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What To Do About It. The book draws on and synthesizes insights from a wealth of contemporary and classic scholarship on inequality to challenge the prevailing assumption that the top “one percent” of the distribution is at fault for the highly unequal allocation of wealth and income in our society. Reeves instead faults the top quintile of the income distribution, contending that they are “hoarding” opportunities for their children, thus facilitating the perpetuation and reinforcement of wealth and privilege among those that already have it. As Reeves’ puts it in the early pages of his book,

Continue reading “The Dreamers and The Hoarders: Class and Opportunity in Contemporary America”

Keep Reading with Us!  Summer Reading Group, Part II

By Jennifer Raymond Dresden, Associate Director of the Democracy & Governance Program

Richard V. Reeves.  Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That’s a Problem, and What to Do About It.  Brookings Institution Press. 2017

Our second installation of the Democracy and Governance Summer Reading Group takes on questions of class and inequality in the United States.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be reading Richard Reeves’ new book Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That’s a Problem, and What to Do About It.

Continue reading “Keep Reading with Us!  Summer Reading Group, Part II”

Unsafe Blacks, Poor Whites, and the Distance Between Us

By Javier Peña, Democracy & Governance M.A. Program alumnus

This post is the first in our Summer Reading Group series discussing recent books on the current state of American democracy.  

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Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me. Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Harper, 2016.

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One of the threats our republic faces today is the growing distance between so many of us. For a democratic republic to work, its citizens, with their elected representatives, must be able to share their beliefs and preferences, listen to one another, and then get on with the hard and necessary work of governing to advance the national interest. Yet it is becoming increasingly difficult, in no small part because we make it difficult, to truly listen to those on the other side.

Continue reading “Unsafe Blacks, Poor Whites, and the Distance Between Us”

Cracks in American Democracy

By Evan Chiacchiaro, Master’s Candidate of the Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University

Political science suggests that the American political system may be approaching a crisis point. It’s time to pay attention.

It has been over 150 years since we as Americans have had to confront a true internal existential threat to the stability of American democracy. Since then, presidents have been impeached, they’ve been assassinated, they’ve died of natural causes while in office, and they’ve shattered existing term limit norms. In each case, the rules and institutions of the political system continued to function, and every four years an election was held and an executive elected. Recent trends and events, however, make it crystal clear that American democratic stability is under threat from three distinct but interrelated angles. To save it, Americans who care about our democracy must mount a full-throated defense.

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