Download A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources by J. Collins PDF

By J. Collins

A Fragile stability examines concepts to advertise emergency mark downs, in particular between underserved households.

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Extra resources for A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers

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Rules of thumb like three months earnings are arbitrary but potentially have the benefit of reflecting geographic variation in wages. For fixed-cost measures such as one month’s housing, the threshold needs to account for regional differences. Still another approach could borrow from the asset poverty framework and set a threshold based on income at the federal poverty level for a specified time period, such as one month. In addition, when calculating a household’s ability to meet fixed costs, it may be beneficial to consider measures that account for access to public supports such as unemployment benefits (Shapiro, Oliver, and Meschede 2009).

Historically, the estate tax has had a median exclusion of about $666,000 in 2013 dollars and a maximum tax rate of about 70 percent. Returning the estate tax to a $1 million exemption and a 55 percent tax rate would raise billions of dollars in annual federal revenue. Reforming these tax programs would raise tens of billions of dollars on an annual basis—more than enough to generously support an Economic Opportunity Fund, create universal Children’s Savings Accounts, and invest in a number of other evidence-based policies to expand economic opportunity.

But most existing investment and inheritance tax programs fail to support these households. This section reviews three reasons for the large size and inequitable distribution of benefits from these tax programs. First, high-income households are much more likely to have significant income from investments and large estates. According to Tax Policy Center estimates, less than one in ten households in the bottom 60 percent of the income distribution will report any tax-preferred investment income from capital gains or dividends in 2014.

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