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Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System: Reimagining the America Welfare System

This report from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and the Assets and Education Initiative examines the present economic mobility system in America and argues that the bifurcated system that offers consumption-based welfare (TANF, Food Stamps, Earn Income Tax Credit, etc.) to low income families while reserving asset based welfare (Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, Tax Breaks, IRAs etc) for middle and upper income families has created a system that bars poor families from being able to harness the social mobility that comes with the accumulation of assets. The report notes that consumption-based welfare programs include asset tests that punish low income families for building their assets, diminishing their stability and reducing the potential for these families to pass on wealth to future generations. 

 

The report advocates for the creation of Economic Mobility Accounts, tax advantaged savings accounts that would help Americans of all income levels save and accrue assets over their life time.

 

Read the full executive summary here.