On May 8th, President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (IFS) Executive Director Lisa Mensah to serve as Undersecretary of Agriculture for Rural Development under US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
As an expert in identifying the best financial tools to improve the economic security of the working poor, Mensah will "guide programs that support community economic development and financing in broadband, telecommunications, distance learning, telemedicine, entrepreneurship, and business development in rural America," said Institute Executive Vice President of policy and public programs, Elliot Gerson.
Mensah founded IFS in 2003, and since then the program has been dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own.
"I'm deeply proud of the work Lisa has done at IFS," said Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. "Helping assure that everyone has a decent opportunity and reducing wealth inequality are the political and moral imperatives of our time. Lisa has done so much to further these ideals, and we at the Aspen Institute will continue that work. In the meantime, I congratulate Lisa on this new chance to serve. The honor is a testament to her talent, vision, and her work at the Institute."
About the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security
The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) is a leading policy program dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own.
What We Believe
Savings sparks entrepreneurship, increases the gross domestic product, builds the middle class, and creates jobs for the future, but America's savings system is broken. Building a sound national savings policy is essential to empowering more Americans to succeed -- to achieve major life goals, to maintain financial security, and to do better than the previous generation. The current method of delivering federal savings and asset-building policies through the tax code does not reach all Americans, particularly low- and moderate-income Americans. By simplifying and expanding savings incentives and products, policymakers can correct federal savings and asset-building policy deficiencies and increase personal savings, which can foster economic opportunity both at the household and national levels.
Building Americans' household balance sheets should start with making savings easier, more automatic, and more rewarding. Although millions of working Americans currently receive little or no tax incentive to save, modest reforms to our tax code have the potential to dramatically improve their financial futures. Aspen IFS' policy report, Savings for Life: A Pathway to Financial Security for All Americans proposed four complementary savings vehicles to facilitate greater saving and asset ownership from "cradle to grave." Aspen IFS promotes solutions that combine smart savings incentives with simple products to help Americans save early and build adequate savings to last a lifetime.
Why it Matters
The imbalance of too much debt and not enough assets fuels financial insecurity in many American households. Currently, millions of Americans work for years towards financial security without making significant headway. While income keeps workers secure on a day-to-day basis, savings and assets are what move American households and the nation to a stronger, financially secure future. Helping more Americans invest in homes, education, and savings is a smart, safe strategy for long-term economic growth and individual success.
How We Make a Difference
Bipartisan Leadership: We work with top business executives, financial and policy experts, elected officials, and community leaders to create market-based strategies to promote lifelong savings and financial success.
Pragmatic Approach: We combine real-world business analysis with public policy ideas to strengthen the economy and help families achieve the American dream.
Turning Dialogue into Action: We convene leaders and experts to frame critical topics, bring new evidence, and propose innovative ideas to reveal areas of consensus and discord in policies related to household financial security. By advancing dialogues with top stakeholders, Aspen IFS influences policies on retirement security, financial reform, tax reform, and fiscal reform.
Source: the Aspen Institute