Print

November 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Urge Congress to Narrow the Wealth Gap

Engage: Despite the economic downturn, the richest 1 percent of households saw their share of all U.S. wealth grow to a whopping 35 percent in 2009; that’s more than the bottom 90 percent combined.

Problem: Studies show that societies with greater wealth and income inequality have poorer health outcomes, higher violent crime rates, and less social mobility, among other things.

Inform: During deficit reduction talks, I have been appalled that some lawmakers are demanding that middle class and low-income families pay higher taxes and accept deep cuts in critical services including Medicaid and SNAP in order to preserve tax breaks for millionaires and large corporations. Instead, Congress should work on reducing our enormous wealth gap. They can start by helping low-income households build savings and assets. For example, the Saver’s Bonus would help low-income taxpayers start savings accounts right on their tax returns. Savings can have a tremendous impact on low-income households. Children with a savings account in their name are six times more likely to attend college than those without an account. When Congress takes up serious tax reform, reform must include asset-building policies like the Saver’s Bonus.

Call to Action: Will you to talk to Super Committee members and House and Senate leadership and urge them to help close the wealth gap by ending tax cuts and close loopholes for the wealthy and big corporations, rejecting cuts to important anti-poverty programs, and working to enact asset development policies like the Saver’s Bonus?

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk and see our June 2011 U.S. Poverty Action for more background on these issues.