The recent presidential election (thank goodness it’s safely behind us now) focused a lot on medicare, social security, and a number of other issues that affect seniors. But rarely did I hear anyone talking about issues that affect children. Oversight? Deliberate ignoring? An acknowledgment that children don’t vote why bother doing anything for them? Whatever the reason, our kids are in trouble and they need our–and our country’s–help.
Here are a few details that I hope will make you sit up and take notice.
- More than 16 million children live in poverty in this country–that’s more than at any time in the last 50 years.
- The percentage of children living in poverty is higher than at any time in the past 20 years. Compare that with the percentage of seniors who are living in poverty: less than 9 percent–the lowest figure in more than 50 years.
- More than 25 percent of our children are obese or suffer from a chronic health condition such as asthma.
- The US lags behind most other developed and developing countries in educational performance and we have some of the most woefully inadequate workplace policies–policies that would give working parents more flexibility to care for children and help them better balance work and family.
When it comes to seniors, Social Security has done an incredible job. Some studies estimate that if it weren’t for social security,44 percent of the elderly would be living in poverty, not the 9 percent who currently do. Overall, our country spends more than seven times more on programs for seniors than for children.
Oh, and that whole fiscal cliff thing?If we fall off the edge–and there are people on both sides of the political spectrum who think we should–we’ll see over $6 billion in cuts to kids’ program in 2013 alone.
Clearly something has to change.
Now just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that we take anything away from seniors. I hope to be one myself one of these days and it would be nice to know there’s a safety net in case my kids can’t support me in my old age. What I am suggesting is that we need to be doing more for our kids.
And I’m certainly not alone. The Center for the Next Generation–a non-partisan, non-political group– is launching “Too Small to Fail,” a national movement that is trying to raise awareness of the challenges our children face and on the need to made the kind of investments that would enable them to lead happy, healthy, productive lives.
So keep an eye out for the Center’s new online and TV ads, social media campaigns, media partnerships, research, and ways you can get involved. Check out the website, www.tcng.org, for tons more resources and information.
Activities kick off with a series of online and television ads produced by top national Republican and Democratic consultants Mark McKinnon (Bush) and Jim Margolis (Obama).