The American story is one of people rising to achieve great things. However, it’s become increasingly difficult for people to share in that experience in recent decades, the result of a two-tiered system that makes it too hard for too many to get ahead. We’re working to reverse that trend by making it easier for the least fortunate to grab hold of the economic ladder and rise. We are working toward a system in which government grants privilege to no one and everyone has access to opportunity. All people should have the ability to succeed, contribute to their communities, and live meaningful lives—regardless of their starting point.
We want an economic system that makes it easier for the least fortunate to grab hold of the economic ladder and rise.
“Entrepreneurs are the very heart of what the American Dream is all about.” —Alfa Demmellash, founder of Rising Tide Capital.
To put it bluntly, today’s economic system not only denies people the opportunity to rise, but also the very belief they can do so. Millennials are the first generation to be worse off than their parents at the same point in life. Data show those who grow up in poor families are more likely to stay poor through adulthood. Additionally, more than 40 percent of the country thinks America’s best days are behind us.
These trends are due to barriers in education, business, communities, and government that make it harder to increase economic mobility. This is an injustice, and the Stand Together community is partnering with social entrepreneurs to remove these barriers holding people back, including:
There is no silver bullet or single solution to this problem. It requires uniting educators, community and business leaders, and policymakers of all parties to fix it.
Economic opportunity is the most effective anti-poverty program in history.
We’re fortunate to be living in the Great Enrichment, the most prosperous period in human history. Starting in the early 1800s, it was built in part on the establishment of equal rights and a recognition that people can work and do business together voluntarily to their mutual benefit.
This country has never lived up fully to this ideal, sometimes falling far short. But to the extent that we have followed these principles, our country has flourished—increasing Americans’ standard of living by as much as 3,000 percent in the last two centuries alone.
The pace of progress has stalled for many, with middle-class wages failing to keep up with a booming economy. Nearly three-in-five people have less than $1,000 in savings, and two-in-five Americans say they would have trouble covering an emergency that cost $400.
So, what’s happening? Why are so many being left behind? Part of the answer is that public policy barriers have rigged the system in favor of a few, against everyone else.
Policies like corporate welfare have created a system in which success for some comes at the expense of others. In a recent six-year period, for example, the federal government doled out $4.4 trillion to just the top 200 U.S. companies, costing roughly $35,000 per household.
Our regulatory system has become so burdensome and complex that small businesses report spending more than $80,000 on compliance in their first year of operation—providing a steep advantage to large businesses that can more easily absorb such added costs. Meanwhile, other policies like occupational licenses often stack the deck against the unemployed by requiring them to sometimes pay thousands of dollars and endure hundreds of hours of training to simply enter their chosen profession.
We want to ensure more people are able to experience the benefits from the Great Enrichment. We’re working to restore an economic system in which the only way to succeed is by benefiting others. Among other reforms, that means advancing equal rights by eliminating all special government favors—whether they be subsidies, tax credits, or anticompetitive regulations.
Our community is uniting people to abolish today’s two-tiered system that makes it too hard for too many to get ahead. We are working toward a system where government grants privilege to no one and everyone has an opportunity to rise—regardless of their starting point in life.