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Making it More Affordable to Raise a Family

Further Reading

  • Jonathan Last, "America's One-Child Policy" 

    Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

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Sep 30 2020

Saving and COVID-19

One unusual feature of the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic is a massive increase in saving. Saving nearly tripled over the first two quarters of 2020.
The good news is that charitable giving last year rose overall, making 2019 giving the second highest to date in real terms (after 2017)
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A well-chosen and consistent monetary policy anchor will not solve every problem—and certainly not ones directly related to public health—but it can facilitate the execution of financial and business contracts and shore up the social contract by lowering uncertainty about the future.
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While there are good reasons not to rely on the tax code to promote social goals, its imbalanced treatment of spending and saving actually discourages savings and thereby poses a barrier to social capital investment. Universal savings accounts would help rectify this bias.
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For two years, the Social Capital Project has documented trends in associational life—what we do together—and its distribution across the country. With this evidentiary base established, the Project turns to the development of a policy agenda rooted in social capital. Specifically, the focus will be to craft an agenda to expand opportunity by strengthening families, communities, and civil society.
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Last year, the Social Capital Project released its Social Capital Index, a tool that measures the health of associational life across the United States. As explained in our earlier report, What We Do Together: The State of Associational Life in America, we define associational life as the “web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations.
Social capital is almost surely an important factor driving many of our nation’s greatest successes and most serious challenges. Indeed, the withering of associational life is itself one of those challenges. Public policy solutions to such challenges are inherently elusive. But at present, policymakers and researchers lack the high-quality contemporary measures of social capital available at the state and local levels to even try proposing solutions that are attuned to associational life.