Nearly half of U.S. on brink of financial calamity: economic report
The Corporation For Enterprise Development (CFED) released an article on January 30 by Lebaron Sims and Sean Luechtefeld in which it placed a new light on the economy in the U.S.
In the article, the writers argued that “almost half of Americans are on the brink of financial calamity.”
Reading the news, the writers said, “it would be easy to conclude that the economy is chugging along toward full recovery.” They pointed to new government data released on Jan. 30 which revealed that the economy grew at a “healthy” 3.2% in the last quarter of 2013. “Yet,” the writers said, “ask the average middle-class American and their economic outlook is anything but healthy.
The 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, released by CFED last month, which finds that despite an improving national economy, “liquid asset poverty rates have barely budged,” the article by Sims and Luechtefeld said.
“The percentage of households in the US who lack the savings needed to weather a financial storm like a job loss or medical emergency is holding tight at 44%,” they said.
The Scorecard also found that problems like growing student loan debt and high rates of consumers with subprime credit—especially among households of color—”are to blame for Americans’ lingering inability to get ahead and build a more secure financial future for themselves and their families,” the writers said.
The article went on to report that CFED President Andrea Levere has called attention to the fact that despite 50 years of progress in the War on Poverty, Americans’ economic mobility has stagnated, while household net worth continues to decline. Part of why these measures trend the wrong direction, Mr. Levere noted, “is the intergenerational transfer of wealth and the lack of policies in place to give a hand up to those who need it the most,” the article said.
The story on its website said that the Corporation For Enterprise Development’s annual “Scorecard” has, for over a decade, been the go-to source for data on household financial security in America.
“This year, however, the Scorecard includes assessments of all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 67 different policy measures. These measures illustrate how far states have gone—and how far they still need to go—to help their residents achieve financial stability,” the story went on.
Ranging from mandatory all-day kindergarten to the establishment of a state housing trust fund, these policies offer legislators manageable and moveable ways to expand economic opportunity in their states, the CFED story asserted.
Also new to the 2014 Scorecard are Estimated Impacts, CFED said in the article by Sims and Luechtefeld, are detailed projections of what effect improvements in 16 specific outcomes would have on the citizens of each state. “For example, Massachusetts has the nation’s lowest uninsured rate, at 4.4%. If Pennsylvania’s 11.5% uninsured rate improved to match Massachusetts’, 742,971 additional Pennsylvanians would have health insurance—no small matter. With this exciting new data tool, advocates can better illustrate the power that good policy can have on the lives of individuals and households,” the article said.
The CFED’s Scorecard offers tools for anyone wishing to look more closely at the U.S. economy as they “make the case to policymakers, community leaders and funders for asset-building strategies that create pathways to economic opportunity,” the internet story declared.
A statement on its website says: “The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, empowers low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets by advancing policies and programs that help them achieve the American Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a business and saving for the future. As a leading source for data about household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what families need to succeed. We promote programs on the ground and invest in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and opportunity for millions of people.