Financial Inclusion as Part of a New, 22nd Century American Social Contract

Author(s): 
Friedline, Terri
Project(s): 
Financial Inclusion
Publication type: 
Working Paper

The dismantling of the American social contract is jeopardizing the economic security and mobility of today's young people and that of future generations. The labor market no longer delivers on its promises of adequate compensation. Higher education, itself pruning opportunity by expecting young people to borrow heavily for its privilege, now has outsized importance for realizing the labor market’s potential. Young people are increasingly born into opportunity that determines whether and how they can take advantage of these institutions and the opportunities they offer. This paper makes a case for financial inclusion as part of a new American social contract. Like owning stock in a company, financial inclusion may be one way of giving young people a stake within these institutions and affirming these institutions' commitments to their roles in the social contract. Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs) are presented as a way of beginning to deliver financial inclusion and create and shore up a new American social contract—one that can sustain future generations and the United States economy into the 22nd century.

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