Bloomberg, August 12, 2020: Opinion | America Needs a Government Wealth Program
Americans are deeply attached to the idea of equality of opportunity — that if people don’t always end up with the same outcomes, then at least they should start at the same place and each get their fair shot. In practice, of course, this is impossible to achieve. Some people’s parents, neighborhoods, and other circumstances of birth give them enormous initial advantages over others. So U.S. policies are generally committed to creating a level playing field — public education, need-based financial aid, and so on.
Family wealth provides one kind of opportunity that no amount of education can redistribute. Wealth can provide capital for a business, buy a home, or fund an education. But most of all, it’s a cushion against risk. Now that health and financial risks are rising for so many low-income Americans, it’s time to think of government policies to make wealth more accessible to all.