Supporting Mobility Near the Top

The Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trust released it’s latest report last week, this one focussed on the dispersement of federal spending for programs designed to support economic mobility. They write:

Education, work experience and saving enhance the opportunity for upward economic mobility. To this end, many federal investments aim to enhance economic mobility. But exactly how much does the federal government encourage economic mobility? What form does the encouragement take? And who benefits from these efforts?

Alas, they conclude, 2/3 of federal spending to support mobility goes to middle and high income households, while many federal programs targeting low income families sometimes actively discourage mobility.

Looking at ten categories of supports, from home ownership to child well-being programs, the report concludes the beneficiaries of these federal programs are those in the upper two income quintiles, “people who already possess substantial command of financial and human capital”.

This non-partisan project is publishing an excellent series of reports of economic mobility in the U.S., and as in this most recently released report, the news is generally not good.

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