In an apocryphal exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, Fitzgerald said, “The rich are different from you and me.” To this Hemingway replied, “Yes, they have more money.” This gets repeated a lot, because it tickles the egalitarian sensibilities of most Americans. A big part of what has kept America together since the Civil War is the myth that ours is a classless society. Some people have more money and power than others, but that’s entirely due to merit, not class and connections.
Like the exchange itself, this belief is completely false. Every society has an elite and that elite uses its influence and connections to perpetuate itself. The daughters of rich guys marry the sons of influential guys. Their children are groomed to take up positions in the elite, mostly due to their family connections in the elite. Just as important, a floor is placed under members of the elite, protecting them from reversion to the mean. It’s how the Kennedy family has been in politics for four generations, despite their deficiencies.