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Suffer the Children

Child poverty is a leading predictor of how our country is going to do in the future. Children (especially very young children) who experience poverty have more difficulty learning and are much less successful as adults. They are less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to become very young parents, and will earn less money.

So it is bad news to learn that child poverty in this country has increased in 38 states. Nearly 15 million children live in poverty in the US. And another 31 million live in families where the loss of just two paychecks would produce economic catastrophe. Together, a stunning 43% of our nation’s children live in households that are economically insecure.

Would it really take much to turn us into a third-world country?



  1. Duckman wrote:

    Tends to happen during wide spread layoffs

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  2. A REGULAR READER wrote:

    “Take away our PlayStations/and we are a third world nation.” — Ani Difranco, “Self-Evident”

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  3. Jeff wrote:

    We’re pretty much a third world country already. With our wide gap between rich and poor, high unemployment, special interests in government, and stagnant congress, what else do we need? Another ten years of crumbling infrastructure to get us all back on dirt roads?

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Look – our situation can definately be improved, but as one who has traveled in several 3rd world nations I can tell you with certainty that we are no where close to that. The only thing that could send us there is our own and a world economy collapse, then everyone would be a TWN. The difference between what we call poor and what a TWN calls poor is a big difference. True we have homeless persons that are closer to what TWN poor are, but even our homeless have access to an emergency room, which simply aren’t available to the truely poor they just lay down and die.
    We can do a better job, but and you all will jump me for this, some just some of our poor will always be that way no matter what we do. And some of our poor aren’t really poor, they work under the table and actually live much better. The rest, yes, are the result of some unfortunate happening or non-existent opportunity.
    It’s a tough problem, but we could do better for those that want better. We could make mentorship a mandate. Every non-poor taxpayer could be assigned someone who needs guidance, mentorship, advice or encouragement (in some cases a kick in the pants). I spend a good amount of time counseling younger Soldiers on how to improve their position in life, some listen and act, some don’t. The same woud hold true I suppose for civilians.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  5. David Freeman wrote:

    Just like the old joke among economists that states: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job”, perhaps even the US is third world for some.

    I certainly get PSGT’s point, as a country we’re far from being third world … but from the perspective of Americans hardest hit by recession or circumstance, not so far.

    From my perspective, the key point of this post is best seen by changing the first sentence slightly to read,”Child poverty is a leading predictor of how poor children will do in the future”. If poor children’s opportunities are less, then all this talk about rugged individualism, meritocracy and the level playing field is just that … talk.

    More power to the young men PSGT successfully mentored, many of whom were from disadvantaged homes, but I have to wonder whether the others might have thrived as well given a better start.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ok, maybe my last line about becoming a third-world country was a bit over the top. I agree with PSgt that we are nowhere near *real* TWCs. But the point of this post was supposed to be that we are going in the wrong direction. More children are experiencing poverty today than were a decade ago, and those children (when they become adults) will have a harder time turning things around and getting us back to our perennial goal of having the next generation be better off than the current generation.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK – you are right on, with regards to poverty and children here. Compared to ourselves yes we have slipped and we need to have opportunity out there. I posted in “The Octangulator” about jobs, which leads to opportunity. We have a all labels government problem when it comes to outsourcing. If we can’t legislate that government spending needs to be American only, then how can we fix anything and more importantly what message are we sending to the children. The chinese are better at building and cheaper. I sat in on a town hall with my congressman last night and he was griping that even many of the US Flags the government buys are not made in the USA. Holy *%#$. Do you mean to tell me we could bury a dead Soldier in a flag made in China? I don’t know what our leaders are thinking. Our people need jobs. Let china figure out how to create jobs for their people. If cost is the issue, I read that outsourceing the SanFran-Oakland bridge project saved 400million, then label it as stimulus spending and hire American workers for crying out loud. I am so ticked off, good thing my dogs not here.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink