Statistics from the latest census were released a week ago, and the news is pretty terrible for all children across the United States and the warnings are especially grim for Black children living in poverty in Washington, D.C.

According to newly released Census data from the American Community Survey, the numbers and percentages of people living in poverty rose in 31 states in 2009, with 46 states and D.C. showing increases in child poverty.  No state saw a statistically significant decrease in its poverty rate.  Real median household income decreased by 2.9 percent between 2008 and 2009, from $51,726 to $50,221.

30% of children in The District were living in poverty and the news only gets worse for Black kids:

Among black children in the city, childhood poverty shot up to 43 percent, from 36 percent in 2008 and 31 percent in 2007. That was a much sharper increase than the two percentage-point jump, to 36 percent, among poor black children nationwide last year. …

Last year, there were more than 30,000 black children living in poverty in the city, almost 7,000 more than two years before, according to Census Bureau data.

How can this happen in the richest country in the world?  If we don’t honor and love all our children — every child! — then what sort of nation have we become?

Have we spent too much on bullets and bombs and too little on bread and porridge?

How much of that $1trillionUSD spent on a failed war effort could have helped in successfully rescuing American kids who are lingering in the deathly throes of an impoverished lifestyle they did not want or create?

4 Comments

    1. I don’t get the war — I mean, I do… it was created to reward defense contractors — but for the rest of us, it has only added up to one, great big, ZERO. No benefit at all. We certainly aren’t any safer now than we were before the war began.

  1. I have worked in the welfare system for the last 15 yrs. The one thing that I have learned is that there is welfare programs in wasteful excess. If people only knew of how much overlap there is in spending they would be shocked. The problem is that instead of making the situation better it makes it worse. Throwing money at a situation does nothing to teach self sufficiency. The generational welfare recipients I have seen have only welfare goals: Get their gov’t housing, get their gov’t checks, get their gov’t medical insurance, get their gov’t daycare, food (food stamps, free lunches, WIC, pantry referrals after illegally selling their food stamps since they get too many), etc. I can’t tell you how many QUIT jobs to stay on benefits because they are afraid to live any other way. We have given them fishes without ever teaching them to fish. Now they just demand fish and refuse to learn to fish.

    I know this sounds very harsh, but if you think about how you have grown in your life, I think you will see that it was the times that you struggled but learned to overcome. You have a sense of pride and accomplishment. You learn that it is possible for you to overcome the next hurdle. Constant handouts block the development of this important skill.

    The thing that has done the most damage is when the government becomes the substitute for a support system. Think about support systems that work:

    When you need help the first place that people should turn to is family, friends, and their church. They know you and get you the help that is best. If you are a drug addict they will do the “tough love” and interventions and force help. The gov’t doesn’t know you so they just continue to give you money and enable you. If you don’t know how to budget your money, it is the people that you go to for money that will point out that you should not have spent it on this or that and you need to sell this or that. The gov’t is not allowed to make that decision– they have to keep enabling. It’s a whole lot easier to go to the gov’t bank than face the truth. It also makes society feel like they are doing something if they can throw some money at it and be done with it.

    I’m not against gov’t assistance, but it was never meant to be a long term solution. It was supposed to fix a temporary crisis. Generations have now developed it into a life style. Education is attainable for everyone (believe me, my family was penniless when I went to school), but not everyone is motivated to go. The options exist. The reason they are not making different choices is what needs to be examined.

    When people ask me how they can best help others my response is always, “Give your time, not your money.”

    1. Linda,

      Your condemnation of the welfare state is an interesting argument — but how do we get the children out of poverty who are born into that lifestyle? Remove them from the home at birth and place them in foster care?