Since the mid-1960s, the United States has spent nearly $25 trillion funding over 80 federal safety net programs, under the guise of lifting families out of poverty. In doing so, these programs have caused millions of Americans to become dependent on the federal government, hurting the very people they intended to help. To change this dynamic, a new, innovative solution is needed.

Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a proposal calling for states to enact “empowerment accounts” as an alternative to federal safety net programs. These accounts, managed by a recipient under the supervision of a “community navigator,” would combine money for basic needs with financial literacy lessons as an effective approach to long term self-sufficiency.

“The time is now for a new approach to improve long-term self-sufficiency that will ultimately help mitigate poverty and reduce dependency on government programs,” the proposal reads in part. “An EA would help eliminate administrative bloat, build social capital, increase accountability, incentivize work, and impart lasting lessons on financial literacy and savings that other programs have historically failed to sufficiently do.”

To view the full proposal, please click here.