Tuesday, February 6, 2007

No Child Left Insured?

Check Blog for Democracy for the link to Bush's decision to stand up for war and but not for children's health. PeachCare and similar programs in other states are facing shortfalls, and the President has refused to make an emergency request for the needed funds. As Tim said, "so much for no child left behind." First, the Republican controlled Congress failed to pass a 2007 budget before adjourning. Now, the Democratic controlled Congress must pass a stop-gap spending resolution to allow the government to continue functioning. Confronted with the escalating cost of an unwinnable war, the money for the child health care bail out is simply not there.

The ugly reality of this situation is that those states facing shortfalls are also states with greater need. That increased need is caused, at the root, by higher levels of poverty. So far, John Edwards is the only presidential candidate who has much to say on this issue, and that is one of the reasons I am supporting him. "The poor we shall always have among us" is no longer an acceptable response to the ravages of poverty in our country.

Remember these three numbers: $500 billion, 25, and 44. Why? In this country, the cost to the economy of children growing up in poverty is about $500 billion a year, primarily indexed by lost productivity, increased health care costs and increased cost for incarceration. And currently, Georgia ranks 25th nationally in terms of economic development and 44th in overall child and family well-being. What does that say about out priorities? Shouldn't we do at least as well for families as we do for business and industry?

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