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For example, I went to school at UCLA. Cost per year when I went there $694 a year. Cost today for in state (w/o room and board) $17,000.

Although that may be the sticker price, one shouldn't forget all of the benefits our society provides for those less well off. For example, my alma mater provides free tuition for families making under 100K, progressing to free tuition, room & board for those making less than 60K.

If mobility is indeed decreased today, my guess would be that the root causes are earlier in life (in conjunction with other changes such as a shift in what jobs pay well spurred by increased globalization and a shift toward knowledge workers).

As an aside, I wonder how many people in the top 20% consider themselves "middle class"? It appears that the upper quintile starts at a household income of 88K.

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