“The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, weâ€™ll have more middle-class people.
But homeownership and college arenâ€™t causes of middle-class status, theyâ€™re markers for possessing the kinds of traits â€” self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. â€” that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesnâ€™t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.”
–Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit
More on this idea, here.