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The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

Questions and Answers about ASPIRE

Published:  July 22, 2009

In light of yesterday's post about ASPIRE--and the op-ed from Newt Gingrich, Peter Ferrara and Emily Renwick--I wanted to highlight resources for those that might have questions about ASPIRE.

We maintain a webpage devoted entirely to our proposal for universal children's savings accounts, here. As this year has moved forward, we have updated the relevant materials that serve as background documents for ASPIRE. As time marches forward and our understanding of the issues involved in the legislation has evolved, so too has the proposal. While the basics remain largely the same, we've issued new versions of the ASPIRE Summary, as well as the ASPIRE Citizen's Guide.

Most recently, we've issued an updated ASPIRE Questions and Answers document. Check it out.

My favorite entry:

15. Can America really afford this? How is this paid for?

The cost of the legislation in 2009, if approved, would be $3.25 billion, a small fraction of the projected $3.1 trillion Federal budget in that year. However, this cost is different than virtually all other proposals for new spending or tax cuts because none of it would constitute a reduction in national savings - for the first 18 years of the program, all "outlays" would be fully invested, which would help spur the economy and promote long-term economic growth. In fact, the bill should increase national savings to the extent that its matching benefits and other incentives would encourage families to save more. Nevertheless, the current federal budget deficit is a significant public policy issue that will affect consideration of all existing and proposed federal policies. The bill does not assume that the legislation's outlays would be offset by any particular revenue source. However, the bill sponsors have expressed a commitment to pay for this proposal with other budgetary offsets.

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