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Asset Building Program

Archives: Asset Building Program Articles and Op-Eds

How to Save Our Kids From Poverty in Old Age

  • By
  • Phillip Longman,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2012 |

The federal government spends more than $500 billion a year on policies designed to help individuals acquire or build assets. The three most expensive of these policies—the mortgage interest deduction, the property tax deduction, and preferential rates on capital gains and dividends—together deliver 45 percent of their benefits to households with average income exceeding $1 million.

How Mexico Used Banks to Uplift the Poor

  • By
  • Vishnu Sridharan,
  • New America Foundation
June 26, 2012 |
It’s a tough time to be a banker.
 
Last month, during Germany’s “Blockupy” protests in Frankfurt, police warned bankers not to wear suits and keep a low profile as 25,000 marchers swarmed the streets with banners reading “Break the Banks’ Power!” Earlier in Spain, riot police protected Caja Madrid bank as citizens made clear their view that the bank “cheats, defrauds and throws people out of their houses.”
 
In Mexico, which last week hosted the G20 summit, the picture is starkly different.

Big Idea: Give Every Child a $500 Savings Plan

  • By
  • Justin King,
  • New America Foundation
April 23, 2012 |

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn’t it?

But just a few years ago, a scenario uniting a group of Republican and Democratic partisans may not have seemed so far-fetched. Before the Great Recession and the Occupy movement highlighted our problems with economic inequality, crushing debt, and the failure of many to save enough money for a rainy day, those four politicians found common ground over a bold proposal to tackle those problems.

Tax Day 2012: Two Views

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
April 17, 2012 |

For over 26 million American households, tax day is a relief. Thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), filing taxes triggers a refund that may be the largest lump sum of cash these families receive all year. Unfortunately, for many other families, it’s just another day. One in four who qualify for the EITC don’t file, and they don’t benefit from what’s really the country’s largest anti-poverty policy effort—currently at over $55 billion. For those with low-incomes and few resources, their tax refund is a welcomed infusion of cash that can be used to manage their poor finances.

What My Television Says About Our Broken Tax Code

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
April 16, 2012 |

My television is 100-pound behemoth from an era when Seinfeld was still must-see TV. So, when a couple of friends offered to sell my husband and me their "old" set a month ago—a svelte 32'' flat screen I could have carried home without getting winded—we jumped at the chance.

We immediately boasted about our purchase to my in-laws. My former banker father-in-law reminded me that, as a bonus, we could deduct the cost of the ancient set from our taxes after we donated it.

It's the Wealth Gap, Stupid

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
February 13, 2012 |

When Mitt Romney bowed to political pressure and released his 2010 tax return, it showed, to no one's great surprise, that the Romneys are rich. Really, really rich. They reported income of more than $21 million, itemized deductions of over $4.5 million, and a total tax bill of just over $3 million. They made charitable contributions of almost $3 million, although more than half of that went to their church.

Nothing Right About This ‘Cure’

  • By
  • David Rothstein,
  • New America Foundation
February 13, 2012 |

It is a great thing when Ohio can point to a model law. The 40-year-old Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA), lauded for its broad and solid protections of Ohioans, is just that — one of the nation’s best preventions against fraud and unfair business practices. It was adopted after an extensive study by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission, which found a need to safeguard legitimate businesse practices while prohibiting deceptive and misleading practices.

To Limit Debt, Promote Savings

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
February 10, 2012 |

Student loan debt was a problem long before Occupy Wall Street protesters added it to their list of grievances. The recession hit the younger end of the workforce particularly hard: the combination of a jobless recovery, rising tuition bills and mounting debt have become a crushing burden. Total student debt today is approaching one trillion dollars — exceeding the balance due on credit cards — and is second only to mortgage debt in American households. In fact, it's the only class of debt in which defaults are increasing.

Mobile Phones Will Not Save the Poorest of the Poor

  • By
  • Sascha Meinrath,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2012 |

Entrepreneurs, businesses, NGOs, and governments exalt mobile technology as a game-changing tool to fight global poverty. But what if our eagerness to connect the world is inadvertently exacerbating the global economic divide?

Are Mobile Solutions Overhyped?

  • By
  • Eric Tyler,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Kentaro Toyama, University of California, Berkeley; Maura O’Neill, USAID; and Katrin Verclas, MobileActive
February 7, 2012 |

Editor’s Note: Contributors to this post will be part of a panel on the topic taking place on Thursday, February 9th in Washington, D.C. Sign up for the event here. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

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