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Economic Opportunity for All
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
—President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Millions of families struggle to make ends meet and break out of the cycle of poverty. According to the United States Census Bureau, about 43.1 million people were living in poverty in 2015. About 19.7 percent of children under 18 were living in poverty in 2015. One of the most useful tools for combating poverty is the U.S. tax code. Unfortunately, for too many years, tax law in the U.S. has been written and rewritten to facilitate benefits flowing upward, disproportionately enriching those at the very top at the expense of everyone else. This has greatly contributed to the widening wealth gap in this country and undermines our individual and collective economic security and democratic ideals. Therefore, RESULTS actively pursues enactment of tax policies rooted in fairness, justice, and accountability so that every person has the opportunity to share in the prosperity of this great nation.
Specifically, RESULTS works to expand opportunities for low-income individuals and families to move up the economic ladder. We support features of the tax code that assist working families, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The EITC, which provides tax refunds to people working in low-income jobs, is the largest poverty reduction program in the U.S. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it is estimated that in 2015 alone, the EITC and the CTC lifted 9.8 million people out of poverty, nearly half of them children. The CTC helps low and middle income families with the costs of raising children. By reducing a family's tax liability, and in low-income families providing a partial refund, the CTC is another important tool for increasing income and reducing poverty.
While more income is vital in helping people lift themselves out of poverty, wealth is also necessary. Wealth – the value of a household’s property and financial assets, minus the debts owed – is disproportionately concentrated within the top earners, which causes a large racial wealth gap. This leaves low-income people and people of color with less financial support in times of hardship, and with less opportunities to build savings and assets. When done right, tax policy can empower all Americans to save, invest, and build wealth. However, the current U.S. tax code benefits wealthier families in terms of wealth creation much more than middle and low-income families. One way to address the racial wealth gap is to use tax time as a time to accelerate economic mobility through promoting emergency savings. RESULTS supports raising awareness of and supporting strategies to reduce the racial wealth gap.
RESULTS is working to protect and expand existing programs (EITC, CTC) and to expand access to wealth in low-income communities and communities of color, which will help people living in poverty not only make ends meet, but also build a future in which they and their children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Read more about these and other programs in our Economic Opportunity background pages found on the left side menu of this page. Also, see links to Economic Opportunity actions and resources in the green boxes in the upper right-hand corner of most pages.