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.