Fox News personality John Stossel said “there’s nothing wrong with inequality.”
Are Stossel and Fox News ok with the 41% of U.S. kids living in or near poverty and the life long harm caused by disadvantages early in life?
HOW INEQUALITY HURTS KIDS
There’s no question – inequality is harmful to kids. Studies have documented examples of rising inequality decreasing child welfare:
Here are the facts on childhood inequality:
- Inequality affects kids for life. Unequal opportunities translate into unequal lifelong outcomes by the time children reach the age of five. 3
Children who grow up poor are more likely to be poor as adults. Furthermore, the likelihood increases with each year of poverty that is experienced. – PBS Frontline
- The impacts of inequality are more damaging the longer it is experienced. The longer a child is poor, the greater the risk of poverty in adulthood, and of experiencing lifelong health problems and involvement in the criminal justice system. 4
The longer you grow up in poverty, the harder it is to graduate. PBS Frontline
- The growing divide between low-income children and their peers reduces opportunities for low-income children throughout their lives. 6
- Enriching the 1% widens the racial wealth divide.
Disparities have been created through histories of discrimination and opportunity denial, and they dissipate slowly.– Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center
The child poverty rate for blacks and Hispanics is more than double the rate for whites and Asians. Higher unemployment rates and lower earnings contribute to the gap. – National Geographic
- Concentrated wealth in the hands of a few undermines democracy, autonomy, and a fair economy, which ultimately affects kids.
INEQUALITY IS RISING
We all believe in fairness, whether liberal or conservative. But some fail to recognize that the playing field is not level. The reality is that socioeconomic status is inherited.
- The rich are getting richer, and it gets passed onto their kids.
- Kids born poor stay poor, and social mobility is declining.
Although overall poverty is declining, poverty is increasing among infants, especially for black and Hispanic children. Social mobility is declining and the condition of those in severe poverty is worsening. That is why a more equitable system to ensure a fair start is as important as ever.
“The proportion of U.S. children who go on to earn more than their parents has dropped sharply since 1940, when the rate topped 90 percent.” – Equality of Opportunity Project
The bottom line? Inequality harms kids and it’s getting worse.
As 2020 candidates propose solutions to inequality, will the response from the right be to deny that inequality is a problem? Inequality must be addressed to give kids a fair start. Fair Start family planning offers a real social contract that brings reasonable people on left and right together.
This can be accomplished with a cooperative family planning framework. Fair Start family planning brings us together to invest in all kids, to improve equity and create a better society.
We can do something about inequality. Help get a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) for kids in Washington D.C., where inequality is higher than any other state in the U.S. GMI that is tied to family planning is even more effective. Ask D.C. Mayor Bowser, @MayorBowser to pursue GMI tied to family planning to give kids a fair start.