Asset Limits: Still Bad Policy

Monday, February 2, 2015

The first stop for anyone working to eliminate asset limits from public assistance and financial aid policies should be New America's Modernizing Asset Limits site. Our colleagues at New America's Asset Building program have built a tremendously valuable resource here, with infographics that explain how asset limits can trap people in poverty, interactive maps showing differences in asset limit policies by state, background information on how asset limits are failing low-income families, and a particularly interesting graphic illustrating changes in SNAP asset limits in the past decade.

New America has long championed policies that reward the savings effort of low-income Americans, and other organizations have taken up this mantle as well, including the Center for American Progress, which released a new piece on asset limits last fall, and, of course, CFED, whose Asset Scorecard tracks progress on reforming asset limits each year.

Removing asset limits is not a panacea. Just making it possible for low-income families to save doesn't mean that they all can, or that they will. But, particularly given the overlapping layers of disadvantage that, today, constrain the mobility of so many Americans in poverty, something so clear--and so easy--is certainly a good place to start.

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New Book Released

Today’s student loan system is in place because of a political compromise, and growing discontent with student debt may signal that this arrangement has run its course. While there are resources and organizations in place to help those struggling with debt, the time has come to consider a new direction for financial aid, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue in “Student Debt: A Reference Handbook.”

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