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    Credit: Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

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All Americans could use a financial break these days. That break just might arrive via the Cap and Dividend Act, which was introduced to Congress this past April.

Here’s how cap-and-dividend works: Permits to bring carbon into the atmosphere are distributed via auctions. Each year, the country reduces the number of permits, and as the carbon supply declines, carbon prices will rise and clean technologies become competitive. Each month, every American with a social security number gets an equal monthly dividend from the carbon auction, and as prices rise, so do dividends.

A new report by the Economics for Equity and the Environment: E3 Network and the Political Economy Research Institute finds that the dividends would most benefit low-income households—which translates into more spending power for rent and other necessities.

Lower- and middle-income households will come out ahead, for the simple reason that they consume much less carbon than upper-income households, states the report, Cap and Dividend: A State-by-State Analysis.

“This system would help families who are already cost-burdened by housing costs save more money annually,” says Megan DeCrappeo, research analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

Is it too soon to tell if property managers would benefit, too? “It is hard to make that assessment just by looking at the data,” says Karen Kossow, vice president of sales and marketing for Kettler Management in McLean, Va.