Pragmatic Proposals

What can you do to reduce poverty and inequality in the United States? Here, we review some of the more popular pragmatic approaches to reducing poverty and inequality, many of them already implemented as large-scale experiments, privately funded programs, or local, state, or federal initiatives.

We have distinguished between approaches that (1) increase access to credit and savings, (2) increase access to schooling and training, (3) rest on changes in macroeconomic policy, (4) rest on changes in non-economic institutions, or (5) are oriented toward immediate relief to those in need.

Building Economic Capital

Building Human Capital

Changing Economic Policy

Other Institutional Changes

  • Subsidized Child Care. Subsidizing child care for single mothers.
  • Health Care. Providing better access to quality, affordable health care.
  • Unions. Revising laws governing the formation of unions.
  • Prisons. Reforms in sentencing and incarceration policy.
  • Spatial Segregation. Reducing the clustering of poor families into a small number of poverty-intensive neighborhoods with poor schools, few jobs, and few positive role models.
  • Job Searching and Matching. Providing the poor with better information on employment opportunities.

Providing Immediate Relief