What We Value

Report Card 10 is the name of a UNICEF study on child poverty in 35 developed nations. They found that while the country with the highest percentage of child poverty is Romania with 26.5 percent, the United States is second with 23.1 percent. Latvia and Bulgaria followed with 18.8 percent each, Spain with 17.1 and Greece with 16. The study listed 14 basic items a child should have, like three meals a day, a quiet place to do homework, and an internet connection so that their results not only addressed child poverty as such but also child deprivation. The rate of poverty obviously means that almost a fourth of American children do not have what they need in order to grow into productive, healthy members of the society, a figure with deep implications for our future. In 2008 the presidential campaign cost a billion dollars. This time it is said that each side will spend about that. Here are two billion dollars to buy political influence, implement the agenda of certain groups, flex all sorts of power muscles, maybe even massage the egos of big donors. (And yes I realize these billions create jobs for ad buyers, consultants and other politicos.) While two billion dollars would go a long way to redressing child poverty and deprivation, the two set of numbers when juxtaposed point to an even more troubling reality than the rate of child poverty in the United States. They point to what looks to be the fact that we value the machinations of politics far more than the welfare of children and maybe even the future of our nation.