This quote, often misattributed to Steinbeck, is a pithy summary of what I wrote earlier this morning:

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Thank you to Twitter folks who mentioned it.

“Socialism” and “proletariat” are loaded words, so the simpler 2018 version might read: Americans never think of themselves as poor, but rather billionaires-to-be.