Assets and Liberty: Encouraging Healthy Savings Habits for Low-Income Households
Our current welfare system places too much of an emphasis on income and consumption over wealth and assets. The United States has a long history of encouraging asset accumulation for all classes. We also have a long tradition of promoting both formal and fair equality of opportunity. Assets are an important determinant for many life outcomes, and an important consideration for fair and formal equality of opportunity. As such, they deserve special consideration in the discussion of poverty and for the promotion of fair equality of opportunity. Especially given that such a large percentage of the population can be considered “asset-poor,” we should evaluate new programs that encourage low-income households to save at some basic level. This paper analyzes several programs’ effectiveness in dealing with the issue of asset poverty.