Statement: Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Proposal Would Make Saving Harder for Low-Income Americans

The following statement in response to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way to Fight Poverty” plan can be attributed to Reid Cramer, director of New America’s Asset Building program.

"The policies proposed in House Speaker Paul Ryan's ‘A Better Way to Fight Poverty’ will make the process of saving and asset building harder for low-income Americans.

The Speaker calls for a massive rollback of consumer protection as a strategy for promoting saving. This will return us to a financial services marketplace where predatory financial products are peddled with impunity.

We only have to go back a few years to the origins of the Great Recession and financial crisis to see how debilitating that approach can be for families and our entire economy. Americans would not be well served by turning back the clock on financial reform.

The Ryan plan also identifies a modest policy change to make retirement savings more accessible to some small-business employees. That proposal is nowhere near adequate to address the majority of families that do not have sufficient emergency savings and are not on track to build long-term assets for retirement.

There are enormous opportunities to boost the mobility and well-being of low-income families by promoting savings. We can achieve these goals by supporting real consumer protection, cutting red tape that keeps the poor from saving, using TANF to support financial inclusion, reforming the tax code to support emergency savings, and instituting retirement reforms that would automatically cover all workers."