TIME – Restore economic mobility – For more than 70 years, hard-working Americans have been beset by economic stagnation and decline. Children who are born into low- and even high-income families are no more likely—and more often than not, less likely—to earn more than their parents than children born in the 1940s, captured strikingly in a new report from The Equality of Opportunity Project. Also stuck in the economic doldrums: those among the roughly 25% of U.S. workers doing freelancing, gig work and other contingent jobs, without full safety nets and sometimes working part time. Then there are the 16- to 24-year-olds, our next generation of talent, who are enduring 10.1% unemployment, more than twice the national rate for adults.
Here are three bipartisan ways to increase economic opportunity:
1. Harness tech tools for early childhood development.
Research by Nobel Economist James Heckman demonstrates that providing high-quality education to lower-income families’ pre-K children results in reduced social welfare costs and increased tax revenue. Heckman’s data led tech venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker to invest in early-childhood interventions and encourage other philanthropists to follow suit.
2. Build alternative career pathways.
Too few employers clearly define the job skills they actually need and instead look just for a college degree, and too many low-income job seekers lack a clear understanding of available professions. One group that can benefit from clear pathways to careers is the 5.5 million 16- to 24-year olds who are neither in school nor working. The challenge is to link these “disconnected youth” with companies that are creating six million entry level jobs and 25 million “middle skills” jobs (think: computer technician and nursing) that don’t require degrees from four-year colleges.
3. Reduce concentrated poverty.
America is pockmarked with communities of entrenched, racially segregated poverty, where substandard housing, schooling and health care create nearly insurmountable roadblocks to upward mobility. Research suggests that prospects brighten when children grow up in economically diverse neighborhoods. Housing advocates are creating a two-pronged solution: opportunities for people to improve their own blighted communities, and support for low-income people to move to neighborhoods with a vibrant middle class.
Jim Shelton, Debby Bielak and Devin Murphy are the co-authors of “‘Billion Dollar Bets’ to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American.”
Now the title of their book is a little bit aggressive, they make a few good points, and the full article is fully detailed. Just another example of others out there coming up with ideas to make everything GREAT AGAIN.