For an "Investor Society"
Breakthrough advisory board member Dalton Conley has an incisive op-ed in today's New York Times where he criticizes the $150 billion stimulus package, passed by Congress and signed by Bush, and calls for an "investor society" where every American, especially the poorest Americans, have savings to invest in their future.
What if instead of giving rebates we helped create an investor society by seeding universal investment accounts? This would not only pump cash into the economy, through the slightly more indirect route of investment, it would also help us correct some of the near-fatal flaws in our long-term economic landscape.
Dalton notes that increased personal savings is correlated all sorts of positive social outcomes:
Such investment incentives would do more than just help stimulate business growth by providing new capital. They would fundamentally change taxpayers’ lives. Some research suggests that asset-holders behave more responsibly and are more civic-minded than those without wealth. After all, they have a stake in the future of the economy and their community. This is why banks in cities don’t readily offer mortgages for apartments in buildings in which most of the tenants are renters, not owners. My own research suggests that having savings and investment equity is one of the best predictors of whether someone’s children will attend and graduate from college. Investing motivates people of all income levels to defer gratification and become knowledgeable about the economy and society.
The question is, what is needed to achieve this politically? We intend to do some research to explore this question over the next few months.