7 of 11
Though Robert calls the rags-to-riches story "a very important part of the American creed," he says the middle class is actually shrinking. He compares the range of incomes and classes in America to a ladder. "That ladder is getting longer and longer and longer," Robert says. "So even though people are working harder than they ever have in their lives, they are not making it today. ... The middle rungs on that ladder are not there any longer."
According to Robert, most people end up in the same class as their parents. "We live in a society in which the most important predictor in where you're going to end up—in terms of class and also wealth—is your parents' class and their wealth."