There’s a reason Mitt Romney says anyone over 55 will keep the same Medicare: Seniors vote.
It’s a different story for those not yet old enough to express their fury in the ballot box. Which brings us to our number of the day: $8 billion.
That’s how much the federal government trimmed from child health services last year as fiscal stimulus programs were phased out. In fact, despite election talk about saving young generations from the federal debt, government has been neglecting children more and more.
State and municipal spending for them has fallen every year for the last three years, according to the Urban Institute. Plus, outlays for children are projected to drop from 10 percent of the federal budget to 8 percent.
These kinds of spending cuts have disastrous consequences. The New York Times points out that among 30 industrialized countries, we have the third-worst rate of infant mortality — and the second-highest teenage pregnancy rate. We’re also in the bottom quarter for literacy. We have set the wrong priorities; we are underfunding our future.