Our America is Healthy When All Residents Have Opportunity
EDITOR'S NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Better Life blog, a product of the Louisville Courier-Journal. You can read the original article here.
Last week I was in DC attending a conference which focused solely on helping the underserved and underprivileged gain the knowledge and develop tools to build assets. The Assets Learning Conference is hosted annually by Prosperity Now an organization with a vision of a "more inclusive" economy. The whole focus of those who work in the field is this – assets are the difference between the haves and the have nots – not just income.
Unlike one of our presidential candidates who recently dismissed 47% of the American population, there is an entire movement to help all who desire work towards economic success. This candidate would say that 47% of our population does not desire economic success. This candidate would have you to think that everyone in the 47% desire to constantly struggle to feed their families, worry about paying the next bill, or even wonder how to get the medical treatment needed to save the life of a sick child.
On the other hand, thousands across the nation have dedicated their careers to this population. As a matter of fact, 12 cities were recognized at the conference for integrating financial empowerment into their social services delivery system. Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) is the nation's first coalition of local governments dedicated to advancing financial empowerment across their communities. In some communities, the conversation begins with simple banking and savings accounts, grows to owning a home and moves to investing in the future. I am proud to say that our own city, Louisville, KY is one of the 12 cities of CFE!
Some policy makers and government servants recognize that it takes more than income to make ends meet. The economic and financial industries of our great America are complicated systems. Collateral is needed to securing funding for business loans. If you do not have assets, you do not have collateral. Many of the wealthiest people gained their wealth from past generations, passing down assets through inheritances and family gifts. If your family has not amassed wealth, then there will not be a "pass down" to future generations.
In my opinion the resounding, rhetorical phrase, "let's take our country back" is a slap in the face. Take it back from whom? When did it leave? You ask the question.
Our Constitution's Preamble reads "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Although these words were crafted during a time when slavery and injustices were the laws of the land, I have to believe that God himself inspired these words for future generations, that God himself knew what was to come and the battles we would fight.
Yes, economic opportunity is for all. Not just 53% of the population, but for all.