Assets are like ladders that can place low- and moderate-income (LMI) families in reach of opportunity. Moreover, increased saving benefits not just households but the economy overall. If every household with less than the median net worth saved an additional $1,000, it would add $56 billion to the economy. However, current U.S. savings policy directs the lion's share of $300 billion in annual subsidies for saving to households earning $50,000 and above who would likely save in any case--and still, the national saving rate fell to zero in 2005. This paper addresses barriers to saving among LMI households, such as asset tests in welfare and education policies and the targeting of subsidies to those households in the highest tax brackets.
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