The longer we delay replacing dysfunctional family planning policies with the Fair Start model, the wider the gap between rich and poor will grow. At the same time, Having Kids and other organizations that support giving all kids a fair start in life rely on wealthy philanthropists and foundations to help fund this reform. While many funders want to, and want to eliminate giving their own kids a massive head start in life, others want to pass their privileged positions in life along to their kids.
In one extreme case, a family of billionaires is enabling their young children – through a family foundation – to drive the direction of several policy reforms, including the type of legislation progressive environmental groups would be allowed to introduce. Consistent with a trend that was thoroughly documented in a recent New York Times bestseller, the parents would prefer to enable their kids to disproportionately shape public policy, and in ways that make the average voter irrelevant.
What’s wrong with this picture? In a true democracy, there is no justification for giving some kids wealth and power at birth while allowing other kids to die from starvation, neglect, and abuse. But that happens in the United States and elsewhere all the time – and many of us just treat it as something that is beyond our control.
In a true democracy, we have to level the playing field for all kids. We have to move towards true equality of opportunity at birth. That’s what it means to constitute ourselves as free and equal people, and it’s the only way to understand what phrases like “We the People” in the United States Constitution, and other constitutions around the world, mean. Our constitutions must be interpreted to apply justice intergenerationally, and our failure to do so is driving the ecological and social crises we face today.
We owe our kids more than a world filled with rich families constantly passing their wealth and power forward, while other kids are born into conditions where statistically they have no chance to succeed.