Upside Down

The $400 Billion Federal Asset-Building Budget

By Corporation for Enterprise Development, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

February 4, 2010


Economic mobility in the United States means the working poor are expected to bootstrap their way into the middle class, as middle-class families climb to greater wealth. But for the first time, we face a scenario where that may not happen. Income is not enough as assets, too, are needed to progress in the American economy. While the federal government pours out millions to help with asset building, this report shows how using the tax code for subsidies is hurting the lower income and middle class while helping the wealthy get wealthier with no oversight easily available.  

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Reforming the existing approach to wealth building

We must reform the existing approach to wealth building, which amounts to an ad hoc, uncoordinated and misaligned set of strategies that are costing our nation dearly.

Findings & Stats

Aecf Upside Down incomebracket

Skewed Distribution

Taxpayers bringing in more than $1 million enjoy $95,820 in annual support while those making $50,000 receive less than $500.

Aecf Upside Down assetbudget

Slicing the Pie

The data in this study are compiled from the FY 2009 federal budget. Data on direct outlays come from line items in departmental budget appropriation documents. Data on tax expenditures come from the U.S. Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. All figures cited in the study are in nominal dollars.

Statements & Quotations