The problem with the Dream Hoarders thesis

One of the books, ideas, which ruffled feathers last year in the US was "Dream Hoarders." The essential thesis being that what ails the place isn't that 1%, it's the 20% described as the upper middle class. That's where the Great Fracture in society is according to the analysis.

There is some good observation in the book. It's true that exclusionary zoning is a pernicious failure of the society. In English we'd say planning permission perhaps but it is often applied to much wider areas making it near impossible for the bottom 80% to live in some cities at all - even counties.

However, the main strand doesn't stand up. The claim is that access to the sort of higher education which puts you into that upper middle class in one's own career is hoarded by this generation's such class for their children. This is done by the arms race of ever better public education (or private) in those zoned and exclusive areas. Those reliant on the more normal public education just don't get a look in.

Which is where the problem comes in. Even if we assume that this is all true what should we be doing about it? It's not exactly a great secret that much of the inner city education system is a monstrous disaster after all. It's been described as the closest thing to an Act of War short of revving up the tanks upon the population subject to it in fact. It's also not a secret that a goodly part of this problem is the manner in which the bureaucracy and the teachers' unions run and control such systems.

So, if we were to be arguing that the playing field needs to be levelled a bit we'd be shouting about vouchers, charter schools, killing the unions, or at least their power over the school systems. We're not and the book isn't. Why not?

Because the author is a Democrat, the teachers' unions are a major hotbed of support for that political party. Shouting at your own supporters isn't regarded as good policy wonkery. Even if it is the solution to the problem identified. 

That is, the entire argument fails for not mentioning the elephant in the room - something which isn't the Republican party despite the usual imagery.