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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. Almost 40 million people were living in poverty in 2008. For children under 18, the poverty rate increased from 18 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2008. 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.

woman on front porchSpecifically, 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. It is estimated that in 2010 alone, the EITC lifted 6.25 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, there are other tools needed as well. Studies show that the most common reasons people fall into poverty is unexpected illness, job loss, or changes in the family (i.e divorce, death). Having savings and assets on hand would reduce the likelihood of people falling into poverty and help those already living in poverty to lift themselves out. RESULTS supports creating a Saver's Bonus as way to spur savings in low-income communities. Low-income households would be able to create a savings account or buy a U.S. savings bond simply by checking a box on their tax return. In return for agreeing to dedicate all or part of their refund to this account, the government would match part of the deposit, thus providing an incentive to save.

RESULTS is working to protect and expand existing programs (EITC, CTC) and create new ones (Saver's Bonus) that 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.