“One of the most important think tank reports you'll read this year.”
—David Brooks, New York Times, June 10, 2008
Signed by 66 scholars and cosponsored by eight leading think tanks, For A New Thrift describes the growing polarization in today's financial landscape between two very different kinds of institutions. Pro-thrift institutions serve well-off Americans and provide a broad array of tax-advantaged savings plans and financial services. Anti-thrift institutions serve Americans who are struggling to live paycheck to paycheck with short-term loans at usurious interest rates.
The argument in a nutshell:
Pro-thrift institutions that once served America's "small saver" have now disappeared from many communities or moved "uptown." Anti-thrift institutions, such as payday lenders, subprime credit card issuers, auto title lenders, tax refund preparers, and government lotteries, have moved in to fill the vacuum. These "anti-thrift" institutions are principal contributors to dissavings and unsustainable levels of debt in America.
For A New Thrift calls for efforts to rebuild broadly democratic, pro-thrift institutions that will serve and reward the "small saver."