A new report released today by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in collaboration with The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University explores a potential universal approach to address issues of chronically low, zero, or negative wealth through race-conscious policy: Baby Bonds.
The report, titled Baby Bonds: A Universal Path to Ensure the Next Generation Has the Capital to Thrive, focuses specifically on Cory Booker’s Opportunity Accounts policy, also known as Baby Bonds, which stands out for its goals and projected ability to address intergenerational wealth disparities and their ripple effects.
Baby Bonds highlights how our current racial wealth inequities are the result of past and present government actions and policies, versus individual actions and choices. Therefore, solutions to address racial wealth inequities must involve government action, with Baby Bonds being a promising policy to begin to alleviate such massive racial injustice.
The report shows that providing a vehicle for investment to those who have been excluded from accessing wealth, especially those who grew up without assets, to pursue education or home ownership without going into or exacerbating substantial debt, could be a step forward to decrease economic disparity.
While additional policies are needed to effectively address the $15 trillion wealth gap between Black people and white people, the report reveals that a federal-level Baby Bonds program has the potential to:
Considerably narrow wealth inequalities by race and that every racial group would be better off at the median with such a program.
Foster greater community wealth-building efforts, allowing family and community members to pool resources to acquire an asset.
Mitigate some of the impact of mass incarceration that disproportionately affects Black families.
The report amplifies the urgency of the intergenerational wealth gap while distinguishing and acknowledging the racial wealth gap, with a grave imperative to address both through a race-conscious, universal policy like Baby Bonds. It also provides detailed recommendations around Baby Bonds as a viable policy initiative, and identifies case studies of related programs in the U.S. and abroad.
Click here to read and download the full report (PDF).