I believe that this same fallacious two-level concept of money – you’re either someone who never had it and never will or you’re someone who always had all you wanted and always will – is held by most poor-from-birth people today, and not just while they are children but also as adults. What’s more, I suspect that stratification of people into socio-economic classes is driven from below as much as it is from above. I don’t believe that those born into money perceive the gulf as readily as those born into none. Those with money, (as I would have sorted them out as a child), aren’t as conscious of their “stratum.” It’s especially those who have enough (however much that is, but that’s where I am today), but who aren’t really wealthy, who are the least likely to realize that they are lumped in with the super-rich, by those who have nothing.
In an early episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, which first aired on television in 1962, Jed Clampett comes into the kitchen — I think it was at the cabin in the Ozarks, but I could be wrong — and he tells Granny that Mr. Drysdale told him they’re going to pay him in some new kind of dollars. Grannie scoffs and says: “There ain’t no new kind of dollars.” Jed turns to Jethro and asks: “What’d he call them, Jethro?” Jethro replies: “Mill-ee-on dollars.” What we have, compared with 1962, is a new kind of dollars, but the effect is quite the opposite of what it was for the Clampett family.