Prioritizing Opportunity for All in the Federal Budget: A Key to Both Growth in and Greater Equality of Earnings and Wealth

Research Report

Prioritizing Opportunity for All in the Federal Budget: A Key to Both Growth in and Greater Equality of Earnings and Wealth

April 27, 2016

Abstract

Many elected officials emphasize reforms that would promote opportunity, but until they define how success would be measured, progress is unlikely. The federal government is scheduled to spend close to $15,000 more per household annually in another 10 years, but little of that increase goes to programs like education and work subsidies that promote opportunity for all. Meanwhile, tax programs that do focus on opportunity exclude lower-income households. Putting opportunity at the forefront of programs throughout the budget could significantly improve equality in earnings, wealth, and human and social capital, but small ball is not going to get us there.

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