Asset Building Program

Archives: Asset Building Program Policy Papers

Rebalancing the Scales

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
March 19, 2014
The 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty naturally prompts reflection on how much progress has been made and how to chart a path forward. While there is a marked divergence in the diagnosis of poverty’s roots and the policy prescriptions necessary to address them, a consensus is emerging that new efforts are needed to promote opportunity, economic mobility and to ensure that the American Dream remains attainable.
 

The Financial Health Check

  • By Antoinette Schoar, MIT, and Piyush Tantia, ideas42
March 3, 2014
Managing day-to-day finances is about as complex as changing the oil in a car – with some skill and instruction we can manage it, but there’s a good chance we’ll wind up with a big mess of black gunk everywhere. For the messy task of changing oil, most of us choose to hire a trained specialist like a mechanic at Jiffy Lube. For the essential task of managing finances, many of us choose to hire financial services specialists, though most of the time they only serve the wealthy.

Connecting Tax Time to Financial Security

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2014
The ability to accumulate and access savings is a fundamental determinant of economic security for many families, especially those with low incomes and limited resources. Since every family’s circumstance is different, so too are their savings needs, which can range both in time horizon and flexibility of purpose. Current federal policy favors longer-term, targeted purposes, such as savings for retirement, leaving a void in policy supports for households whose savings needs are more immediate.

Asset-Oriented Rental Assistance

  • By
  • Hannah Emple,
  • New America Foundation
December 5, 2013
Federally funded rental assistance programs in the U.S. address housing-related hardship for participants, but are unable to reach a majority of eligible households due to current funding levels. Given existing funding constraints, there are benefits to expanding programs and policies that help families move up the economic ladder, thus freeing up resources to assist more eligible families.

Designing California's Secure Choice Savings Program

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Aleta Sprague,
  • New America Foundation
November 25, 2013
Increasing access to retirement savings plans and creating incentives for low- and moderate-income workers to participate is a cornerstone of a policy agenda that democratizes asset building opportunities. Previously, we have authored a series of policy papers, issue briefs, and published testimony about automatic IRAs, universal 401(k)s, and the role of the tax code in creating inequitable subsidies for retirement savings.

Ohio’s Tax Time Coalition

  • By
  • David Rothstein,
  • New America Foundation
November 22, 2013
Throughout the country, a network of over 4,300 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites helps over 1.2 million low-income taxpayers file their taxes for free each year. Organized through IRS grants, the sites not only help low-income Americans file their taxes, but also to take advantage of important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For more than six years, the Ohio Tax Time Coalition (formerly the Franklin County EITC Coalition) has served the Columbus metro area as one of these sites.

Personal Savings and Tax Reform

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
July 22, 2013

The tax code is riddled with inequities, especially for families with lower incomes and fewer resources. While some low-income households benefit from refundable credits provided in the tax code such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, many more are categorically excluded from benefiting from valuable tax incentives. The nearly 70 percent of Americans that do not itemize on their tax returns cannot access a range of valuable benefits, deductions, and write-offs that amount to huge tax-saving benefits to higher-income households.

Asset Limits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2013

Savings, even in modest amounts, have been shown to create a protective buffer within a family’s budget that minimizes these negative outcomes and promotes the positive.Ideally, savings would play a complementary role to the system of safety-net supports that are designed to provide temporary assistance to families for purchasing basic goods and services.

Asset Limits in Public Assistance Programs

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2013

For many low-income families, slight changes in their financial circumstances can have dramatic consequences on their wellbeing. Missing a rent payment when hours at work are cut, missing meals when winter comes to pay for heat instead, or missing an opportunity to move to a safer neighborhood because there isn’t money for a security deposit. In these situations, even a small amount of additional resources can make the difference between getting by, falling behind, or getting ahead.

An Assets Agenda for the States

  • By Karen Harris, Illinois Asset Building Group
May 23, 2013

Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and a “hard work” ethic are the hallmarks of America’s definition of success. To achieve success and the economic mobility of the American Dream, however, requires not only the ability to generate income, but also the ability to translate such income into assets. While income may measure whether or not a person has enough to get by, assets measure whether or not a person has enough to get ahead.

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