Conservatives and Progressives Find Agreement on Ways to Fight Poverty and Increase Opportunity
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Conservatives and Progressives Find Agreement on Ways to Fight Poverty and Increase Opportunity

In our increasingly polarized society, it’s often difficult  for conservatives and progressives to find common ground. It’s even more rare for policy experts on the left and the right to find proposals that they can jointly agree on. So it’s rather remarkable that just such a diverse group has created a detailed plan for reducing poverty and increasing economic mobility.

With support from the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, a group of scholars “worked together for more than a year to review the best available evidence and craft a plan that all believe would be effective.” Despite differences in moral values, they found consensus on three values that all Americans share: opportunity, responsibility, and security.

Next week I’ll be posting some of the individual details and recommendations from the report. But for now I wanted to highlight their twelve broad recommendations:

To strengthen families in ways that will prepare children for success in education and work:

  1. Promote a new cultural norm surrounding parenthood and marriage.
  2. Promote delayed, responsible childbearing.
  3. Increase access to effective parenting education.
  4. Help young, less-educated men and women prosper in work and family.

To improve the quantity and quality of work in ways that will better prepare young people—men as well as women—to assume the responsibilities of adult life and parenthood:

  1. Improve skills to get well-paying jobs.
  2. Make work pay more for the less educated.
  3. Raise work levels among the hard-to-employ, including the poorly educated and those with criminal records.
  4. Ensure that jobs are available.

To improve education in ways that will better help poor children avail themselves of opportunities for self-advancement:

  1. Increase public investment in two underfunded stages of education: preschool and postsecondary.
  2. Educate the whole child to promote social-emotional and character development as well as academic skills.
  3. Modernize the organization and accountability of education.
  4. Close resource gaps to reduce education gaps.


Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).