The nation has witnessed “record numbers” of American families fall out of the middle class since the start of the Great Recession. The combination of lost jobs and millions of home foreclosures has left countless Americans “homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.”
But the latest faces of poverty are those of American children, as “it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent.” These children will be “the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression”:
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.[…]
Nationwide, 14 million children were in poverty before the Great Recession. Now, the U.S. Census tells us its 16 million — up two million in two years. That is the fastest fall for the middle class since the government started counting 51 years ago.
Rather than bolster the safety net beneath this staggering number of children, House Republicans took their budget scissors to it in the continuing resolution they passed last week. By drastically slashing programs including Head Start services and the Nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the GOP cut off thousands of children from vital food packages; 218,000 children from comprehensive health, educational, and family support; 975,000 low-income students from academic support; 5 million children from access to anti-poverty services; and leave “in the lurch thousands of families who rely on child care assistance to work.”
So on top of workers, pregnant women, veterans, the sick and the disabled, Republicans are adding impoverished children to the list of those who must sacrifice in order to reduce a deficit they didn’t cause. Of course, notably missing from the shared sacrifice list is the top one percent of wealthiest Americans who took home 25 percent of the nation’s income in 2009. The GOP offered them the Bush tax cuts instead — one year of which, as the Center For American Progress Action Fund’s Melissa Boteach notes, “is worth more than twice as much in deficit reduction as the cuts inflicted on programs assisting low-income families combined.”
As CBS News Scott Pelley notes, kids in poverty “tiptoe in a world of insecurity, hoping to be invisible.” Given the callous nature of their cuts, it seems House Republicans are compelling them to stay that way.