Wednesday, July 16, 2014

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Rayburn House Office Builiding, Room 2253

Washington, D.C. 20510

A Briefing for Congressional Staff

Sponsored by the Urban Institute in Partnership with the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus and the Senate Economic Mobility Caucus

Many American families struggle to find ways to build wealth and achieve upward mobility. Others find themselves with little or no assets or, worse, deep in debt. Why are many families falling behind, and what can be done about it? An emerging body of research has identified the trends and drivers of these longstanding challenges and may point toward solutions that foster economic opportunity for all. It is clear that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, but there are opportunities to innovate within existing budget frameworks and financial products. Experts discussed the most recent data on household balance sheets and the state of wealth in America, and offered perspectives on policy solutions that enable families to build diverse assets they can draw on over their lifetimes.

The briefing not only shared information, but also provided an opportunity for Congressional staff to engage with the panelists.


Welcome and Introduction

  • Eugene Steuerle, Institute fellow, Urban Institute
  • Justin King, policy director, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation
Opening Remarks

  • The Honorable U.S. Representative Thomas Petri, Wisconsin; Co-Chair, Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus

  • Moderator:  Eugene Steuerle, Institute fellow, Urban Institute
  • Wealth trends: Caroline Ratcliffe, senior fellow, Urban Institute
  • Drivers of wealth: Tom Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy and director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University
  • Economic effects of inequality: Ray Boshara, director, Center for Household Financial Stability, senior adviser and assistant vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • What policies does research suggest?: Trina Shanks, associate professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, University of Michigan and Scott Winship, Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Wealth in America: Policies to Support Mobility

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