US Squanders Historic Opportunity, Lets Child Poverty Soar

We learned a lot from the pandemic. For example, we were reminded that for all our pretensions to global dominion and regular displays of blatant disregard for the biome which so generously harbors our increasingly ungrateful species, Mother Nature can wipe us out in the space of a few months if she wants to. As I never tire of reminding readers, if COVID had been a hemorrhagic fever, 2020 would've been the end of the world as we know it. And scarcely anybody would've "felt fine," as the song g

Get the best daily market and macroeconomic commentary anywhere for less than $7 per month.

Subscribe today

Already have an account? log in

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 thoughts on “US Squanders Historic Opportunity, Lets Child Poverty Soar

  1. We’re selfish, as humans that is. In theory the U.S. is the wealthiest nation, at least in terms of GDP. In practice we are very selfish when it comes to ‘the greater good’. Very few are ready to make any monetary sacrifice for universal betterment of their town, county, state or hungry children they don’t know. Tax, which is about the greater good, is almost universally despised.

    Our founding pioneer spirit that helped us until the mid 20th century during the period when there was always more space ‘out west’ where we could be left alone to do our own thing, holds us back now that we’ve run out of expansion space and have to live in ever denser population centers where being mindful of the greater good is essential to peace and tranquility. Maybe it has something to do with social animals that need a pecking order – meaning I’d like to move up the chain but I certainly don’t want any of those below to get a leg up over me.

    This state of affairs certainly is aggravated by the scarcity complex that seems to be built in to our psyches. How else do you explain that we humans are forever trying to tear apart our little spaceship earth without which none of us can survive, not even those building their own getaway vehicles. If we had an average lifespan of 200 years would we be at least a little less inclined to trash things. Doubt it. It would be more fitting if those enthusiasts who chant USA USA at international sporting events shouted Me Me Me instead. Sorry for the rant, but can’t help it when H puts reality clearly in focus and it’s not very flattering.

    1. 3DDD – Great post after yet another memorable piece from our Dear Leader.

      Curious – was the “me me me” reference from an old black & white movie or TV show that showed around 1960? I have a semi-vivid memory of the closing scenes of some post-apocalypse drama where a harried hero was on stage facing a crowd chanting “me me me” in unison. He was drowned out as he begged them “No, no please! We have to work together.” I’ve often wondered just what drama seared that memory into my consciousness. (Of course, I sided with the crowd which is why I fit right in down on Wall Street!) Can anyone ID that cinematic triumph?

      The memory was right up there with a Mad Magazine cover informing us that 1961 would be the last year for generations where you could turn over the date and it would remain the same. That greatly upset me for some reason. Perhaps it was the first occasion that I grappled with the concept of mortality?

  2. It’s complete f*cking bullshit that we allow this. I’m one of minority on this site in that I’m strongly right-leaning. I would happily pay for increased food stamps and the child tax credit. I’m proud that my urban school district provides a breakfast and a lunch for any student that wants it. Regardless of income. Food stamps, the child tax credit, and school lunches are minuscule in the big scheme. Yet this assistance is sometimes enough to keep a family afloat. I have a somewhat radical view that food stamps should be available to every American regardless of wealth. The people who don’t need it would mostly self-select out.

    It’s so hard to get ahead in today’s America. It can still be done. But the deck is stacked against folks. Add to it the outrageous number of kids in single-family homes, the cost of basic goods in cities, and the lack of even simple financial guidance and it becomes almost impossible without aid.

    And yes, before anyone asks, I’ve communicated my position with my local Republican House member. I live in Illinois, so my Senators do not need encouragement to spend money.

  3. A really great article on a topic that is such an obvious opportunity. Can’t find it now, but I recall a study on the impact of the UK’s Blair years to eradicate child poverty and a cold economic analysis of the results. If I recall correctly it’s was in the region of 13% CAGR.
    This is not even considering the social benefits which were reduced obesity, less children admitted to hospital for accidents, more time spent with parents.
    As they say in the academic echelons ‘ it’s a ######ing no brainer ”
    Only issue seems to be , that it takes longer to manifest than the political cycle

  4. I know it is only a drop in the bucket but this is why I donate a portion of every paycheck to UNICEF. I can’t change government policy but at least I feel like I am doing something to help.

  5. My grandfather was one of 12 children. He quit school at 11 (in 1900) and took a job as a hod carrier. For those who don’t know, a hod is a “v” shaped platform on top of a stick. It is filled with a bunch of bricks so someone can get on a ladder with this thing to take the bricks up to be laid. Try holding a 80-100 pounds straight up in the air with one arm while climbing a ladder. That was child labor. My dad was thirteen when his after school job was as a bobbin carrier at Lady Pepperell. That involves picking up huge chunks of wood wound with thousands of yards of thread for use in power weaving looms. He would carry three to four at a time out to the loom, rinse and repeat for hours. At sixteen, he became a milk man at Hood Dairies. We outlawed this crap most places, found other ways to do it but guess what, it’s baaack. The KC suburb next to me is Independence, MO, home of Harry S Truman. This is a sizeable town with a six-figure population, the historic Jackson County courthouse, and so much poverty that 90% of the city’s kids qualify for full breakfast and lunch at school. Trouble is that doesn’t cover weekends or summer and the less broad-minded among us recently cut food stamps for millions of families. It’s disgusting.

  6. Another example of post-pandemic “normalization” that we did not need. But while curing/relieving child poverty is something that many believed was possible, it took the pandemic to demonstrate it. Maybe that’s a start. I feel like the persistent inequality in this country resides in a similar space. Most seem to agree something needs to be done about it, but until something is actually done, we shrug and say the problem seems too embedded or intractable. Two perfect bookends for our economy. Can’t help the most in need, and can’t mess with the most in greed.

  7. Family values? Maybe not….So, we have a big demographic problem- Declining birth rates- 2 possible tactics:more immigration, particularly targeted to skilled people, and support for parents who choose to have children…A signif icant number of voters hate both these things. Note to Republicans- look haow far Israel swung to the right, primarily because of educated immigrants….

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints