World military expenditure in 2005 increased to $1,001 billion and the US is responsible for 80 percent of that increase. While America is first in nuclear defense capabilities and expenditures among industrialized countries to the tune of $30 billion annually, it is shocking that America’s kids are so woefully neglected.
The stark realities…..
Top Left: Government Pie Chart (Office of Management and Budget)
- 18 percent of all children (ages 0-17) live in poverty
- 9.3 million children are without health insurance
- A child dies before his or her first birthday every 19 minutes
- A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 3 hours
For more than 10 years, lawmakers mainly focused on sweeping welfare changes passed in 1996 that imposed time limits and strict work requirements on welfare recipients. This did not bode well for our poor children, despite President Bush’s proposal to continue childcare support at $4.8 billion per year, as part of his Welfare Reform.
In addition to the humanitarian aspects, there is also an economic case for reducing childhood poverty and it's impact on the US economy.
Children who grow up poor in the United States cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses.
Yet, according to experts, as much as $13 billion could be cut from U.S. nuclear spending without compromising our national security and strong position.
Can we please give our children a bigger slice of the American Federal budget pie?
There are several initiatives that need further funding and support to benefit our future generations. To name a few:
- Child care assistance to low-income families
- Health insurance
- Community and housing mobilization
- Expand the earned income tax credit and child tax credit
- Higher minimum wages
- Pre-kindergarten programs, elementary and secondary reforms