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America’s Most Vulnerable

by CHARLES M. BLOW

As we begin inevitably wrangling over budget cuts and other austerity measures, we must not lose sight of the plight of the most vulnerable among us — the ones who have little say and few choices: the nation’s poorest children.

The gap between those children and the rest of our children is already unacceptably wide, and it can’t afford to get wider. In fact, a report entitled ”The Children Left Behind,” released by Unicef last Friday, examined inequality in well-being on a wide range of measures among children in 24 of the world’s richest countries. America’s rankings were among the worst.

Parents play a large role in this inequality, but so do policies. As the report wisely asks, ”Is there a point beyond which falling behind is not inevitable but policy susceptible, not unavoidable but unacceptable, not inequality but inequity?”

I say absolutely.

I would hope that we could move to improve this situation. But at the very least, we mustn’t make it worse.

CHART: ”The Children That Fortune Forgot” Rankings of child well-being among 24 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Source: ”The Children Left Behind,” UNICEF)

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

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2 Comments on "America’s Most Vulnerable"

  1. My heart breaks for our children. The situation is much more serious and far reaching than budgets. Children are not highly valued in our society and subsequently the issues that pertain to them fall by the wayside. Seems like people can look at their check book and see whats important to them.

  2. My heart breaks for our children. The situation is much more serious and far reaching than budgets. Children are not highly valued in our society and subsequently the issues that pertain to them fall by the wayside. Seems like people can look at their check book and see whats important to them.

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