Our kids are counting on us to reverse austerity.

According to UNICEF, even in the world's richest countires, children remain “the most enduring victims” of the recession. In the last six years, 2.6 million more kids have fallen below the poverty line, and more than half of them live right here in the United States.

This week, UNICEF released their annual study, “Children of the Recession,” which found that more than 76 million children are living in poverty in the 41 wealthiest nations on Earth. The authors of that study say they were not intending to “comment on austerity,” but their analysis made clear that the slashing of public services has fueled this rise in child poverty.

Nations hit with extreme austerity measures, like Greece and Iceland, saw the number of kids living in poverty increase by more than 50 percent. In comparison, the report states, “Governments that bolstered existing public institutions and programs helped to buffer countless children from the crisis – a strategy that others may consider adopting.”

Enacting huge budget cuts has left many parents out of work in these counties, and the social programs that once kept their families out of poverty have been slashed as well. The stark increase in the number of struggling families is the end result of lawmakers worrying more about budgets than about their citizens – both young and old.

This recession, and the harsh austerity measures that followed, have turned our kids into “a generation cast aside,” and that is simply not acceptable. We must continue to fight for the end of austerity, and demand that lawmakers invest in their nations and their people. The children of the world are depending on us.


Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 30 weeks ago

It just breaks my heart, one great 18 year old kid who volunteers with us at Food Not Bombs Saturdays is real bright, worked real hard to get good grades in high school, never got into trouble though he grew up in an area with very heavy gang activity, completely sober - doesn't smoke, drink or drug - but he can't even think about going to college, it just costs too much. He graduated high school last year and now works in a local movie theater checking ticket stubs or selling popcorn. His mother worked hard all her life but now has a bad shoulder and can't lift more than 10 lbs. (don't know what's up with his father).

When I was his age everybody could go to college, certainly a kid like he is would. It is such an outrageous waste of talent and grossly unjust denial of opportunity that he can't even think about it. Are we back to the 19th century where a kid could start working in the coal mines at 11 years of age and continue there for the rest of his life and never even imagine anything better for himself - and consider himself to be "arrogantly" stepping out of his station for even dreaming so? Is that the conservative perfect world where only a small minority can live well and the rest are livestock for their use and consumption?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago

Mark, what you've just described is the conservative agenda for America's next generation. And if the Republicons take Congress on Tuesday, it'll get whole lot worse. - AIW

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 30 weeks ago

"Richest country in the world" could mean a few things. Brunei was considered the richest country in the world "per capita" but the people were the poorest. Only the sultan was so rich as to make the country "rich".

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago

When I went to graduate school at the University of Texas in 1963, the (Democratic) State government provided over 90% of the University's budget. In 2014, the Republican dominated state government provides 13%. Why are we surprised that tuition costs for the student have exploded? Conservatives no longer believe an educated citizen is more valuable than a non-educated one. (If they ever did.)

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 30 weeks ago

They love, what Chomsky calls, the "third world model" where a small minority does well, the greater mass is poor, ignorant, illiterate, desperate and miserable and no middle class to speak of.

lizard's picture
lizard 8 years 30 weeks ago

Where is the money? I am a N.C. teacher. I get 50$ per year for spending on 90 students. I started teaching in 1993 with 75 $ . The Republicans do not care about schools unless they are Charter schools& the rich keep their money at their private schools....The rep's in NC are supporting this.

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