Citizen Wealth Savings Incentives

Community Organizing Ideas and Issues

Boston        If the only paper you can get in a roadside motel is USA Today, then by god that’s the paper I’m going to read, and so it was in Boston while marooned in Medford a short hike from Tufts.
    One interesting article was right on time the other day and it detailed an effort in New York City to give cash rewards to encourage savings for lower income families.
    The program is completely funded by private dollars including contributions from the Mayor (this is all too bad).  The heart of it is that you get cash as an incentive for savings or for other “good” behavior.
     The article by Martha Moore said that since 2007 the program has paid out $7.5 million to folks who can make up to $6000 if they hit all of the buttons for cash back.  About half of the money was paid to for preventive health care incentives — like going to the doctor.  More than a third was paid in education incentives.  A little less than 20% was paid for work incentives.  Savings can sometimes be matched almost dollar for dollar.
    Other cities seem to be getting in on the act in some cases.  San Francisco is paying $100 for people to fill out EITC returns.  In Savannah, Georgia the mayor is proposing to pay teenage girls for NOT getting pregnant.  In Memphis a mayor is talking about usi9ng cash to fight infant mortality.  
    These are weird tests but anything that might force some rethinking of the basics in order to create citizen wealth is worth a hard look.

Mayor Bloomberg