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  1. It depends on how you define class. We have virtually no proletariat in the traditional sense. My grandfather (an illegal alien) worked manual labor jobs until he was 85. But his daughters all got professional certificates, and most of his granchildren have college degrees. Our “class lines” are far more porous than almost any other society.

    We do have a permanent underclass, from whom we have cruelly removed work ethic. It’s very hard to get out of that class if you’re born into it.

    OTOH, there are the blue-bloods, the elites with money older than the U.S. itself. You don’t crack that ceiling. You’re born into it– or not.

    As for the rest of the wealthy, they move up and down. Bill Gates was born middle class and bought his first teletype terminal at a rummage sale. Sam Walton was raised on a farm. Warren Buffett worked in his grandfather’s grocery store and did a newspaper route on his bicycle, until his father became a successful investor.

    On the other hand, Charles Schwab died bankrupt. Many children of recently-wealthy men grow up spoiled and squander their inheritance. The rise and fall of wealth this decade alone makes our heads spin.

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