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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens to testimony during a hearing on
Paul Ryan thinks the second-highest child poverty in the developed world and sequestration are a great start, but there's more to be done.
The United States ranks 34 out of 35 on a UNICEF measure of relative child poverty in developed nations. To be clear, that's 34 out of 35 in the bad way—second highest level, doing better than only Romania with more than 20 percent of children living in a household with an income below half the median.
But the picture looks even worse when you examine just how far below the relative poverty line these children tend to fall. The UNICEF report looks at something it calls the “child poverty gap,” which measures how far the average poor child falls below the relative poverty line. It does this by measuring the gap between the relative poverty line and the average income of poor families.

Alarmingly, the United States also scores second-to-last on this measurement, with the average poor child living in a home that makes 36 percent less than the relative poverty line.

This is the context before the start of sequestration, as Bryce Covert points out. With the full effects of sequestration yet to come, we've already seen kids cut from Head Start programs, less housing assistance available to families struggling to stay off the street, and homeless shelters losing funding among the sequester's effects that will hit poor kids directly.

Of course all of this is just a tiny taste of what Republicans would like to deal out to poor and struggling families through Paul Ryan's Republican budget. That's why Republicans wanted the sequester to happen to begin with, their whining about airports and White House tours notwithstanding.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  On any measure of GENERAL well-being, (10+ / 0-)

    the U.S. is the worst, or nearly so, of any industrialized nation. If you aggregate them, I'm pretty sure we're at the bottom. If you divide it by GDP, ditto. So this is no surprise. Sure, the rich make out like bandits. Because, well, they are. But the rest of us just get by.

  •  of course (5+ / 0-)

    certain right wingers would say those kids are just lazy, and they should get jobs and earn a living...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:09:22 PM PDT

  •  If the guns don't kill our kids, (5+ / 0-)

    then going without food can be an alternative.

    Nothing like the policies of the pro-life, family-values crowd.

  •  But we're number one when it comes to bombs, (8+ / 0-)

    prosecuting whistle blowers, and cutting benefits for kids and old people so the top can have even more.  

    Obama's poll numbers are tanking.

    Most adults disapprove of Obama's handling of the federal deficit, a festering national problem. But they also dislike key proposals to reduce deficit spending, including a slower growth in Social Security benefits and changes to Medicare.

    Rounding out the portrait of a nation in a funk, the share of people saying the United States is heading in the wrong direction is at its highest since last August: 56 percent.

    People are pissed;  and the Boston bombing and beltway failure to regulate guns isn't helping one bit.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:14:39 PM PDT

    •  take over the House (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      what we need is to put those morons that won't listen to us out in 2014....we need Dems in the House!!! All we do now is butt out heads against the wall.....the House is filled with obstructionists who only care about the wealthy!!! Make your vote count this next time and get the obstructionists out of the House!!! Let's do it this time!!! The President has to have the House to move forward!!!

  •  The US Is Now A Third World Country (7+ / 0-)

    We are only one of a few countries who don't have free healthcare for all our citizens.  We don't have housing for all of our citizens.  We don't have enough food for all of our citizens.  We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but have the poorest people in the world.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:24:22 PM PDT

  •  Our "leaders" & their "Race to the Bottom" for US (8+ / 0-)

    "Our" Austerity Hawk politicians don't seem to have any shame for the fact that under their "leadership" our country has been Slouching Towards Third World Status in so many key indicators.  

    "34 out of 35 in child poverty"...


    US lags developed world with health care that "provides neither quality nor value."

    US ranks 19th in Retirement Security.

    The US has fallen well behind many...(countries) in infrastructure

    We rank 18th in railroads, 19th in ports, 20th in roads, 30th in airports, and 33rd in the quality of our electrical system.
    Etc, etc.  Yet, instead of feeling shame--they continue to preach "austerity", while pretending to be oblivious that on their watch, the country continues to slide further and further downward.  Thanks to the dysfunction/ destruction of our "leaders":If you came into the world today and could pick your nationality, there are at least 15 better choices than to be born American...
    ....according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The firm looked at 80 countries, scoring them across 11 variables to determine “which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.” The results, mapped out above, are both surprising and not.

    The study incorporates hard data on facets such as economic opportunity, health standards and political freedoms; subjective “quality of life” surveys; and economic forecasts for 2030, when an infant born today would be entering adulthood. Even gender equality, job security (as measured by unemployment data), violent crime rates and climate are taken into account...

    If only the media would put the politicians--like Ryan--on the hot seat about how their austerity goals, their irresponsible lawmaking, and their dysfunctional governing are taking the US downward in almost every measure of livability, competitiveness, health, infrastructure, education, etc, etc.
  •  Frankly, this is the dumbest measure possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Utahrd
    ...children living in a household with an income below half the median.
    So the function is dependent largely on the median household income.

    Taking example numbers. If the median income in the US is 50K, then poverty is >25K. If the median income in Hungary is 25K, then poverty is >12.5K

    If you are making 15K in Hungary, you're not considered in poverty. If you're making 15K in America you are.

    There is no doubt that the "real" poverty levels in the US are probably higher than several of the Nordic/Western European nations listed, but measuring poverty as a function as a fraction of median income doesn't really paint an accurate picture.

    •  Median income isn't a perfect measure, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but your argument against it doesn't hold water.  You're assuming that a dollar has the same buying power in each country, and that simply isn't the case.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 05:12:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can account for that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But as long as poverty is a function of the median income, it will be an unequal measure between nations.

        The ideal measure would be incomes in PPP dollars (accounting for purchasing power), and the going off a baseline (in this case the USA) poverty value. So you could say XXXXX PPPed dollars is considered poverty , and then compare the percentage of people in each country making less than that value.

        Wikipedia has a good chart of Median household incomes (in PPP dollars) for a lot of the countries on the list.

        If you look at the US, the median income (in PPP dollars) is around $31K. For Germany, that same number is $21K. If we only measure poverty as half the median, you're looking at 15.5K vs 10.5K. If we agree that poverty is 15.5K or less, then the German poverty rate would be higher than the reported rate.

        This would get you closer to a meaningful answer, but a completely objective measuring would be very difficult because of non-dollar measurements of poverty (access to healthcare, etc)

  •  Read/watch Richard Wilkinson's research (5+ / 0-)

    on inequality in the western developed countries. The USA is the worst performer on nearly every measure. His book with Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level, contains data which would make fantastic impact subjects  for 30-second political spots on behalf of progressives.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:54:33 PM PDT

  •  OVERALL (0+ / 0-)

    Unicef published a "report card" on OECD countries to update a report published in 2007. It analysed new data as of 2010. I wrote a diary on it last week and this is some of the analysis of the overall Child Wellbeing rankings:

    The bad news is that the countries with an overall rank lower than the USA are Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, none of which were in the 2007 report. (Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Japan, Malta and New Zealand have not been included in the overall league table of child well-being, as they have data for fewer than 75% of the total number of indicators used.)

    In 2007, the USA had an overall ranking of number 20, one above the United Kingdom which is in 16th place in the new table. The current ranking is number 26 out of 29. The total is more because data is now available from some countries not included in the overall table previously. Those included Iceland which is now ranked 3 (and first in Health and Safety); Luxembourg at 7 and Slovakia at 24. All of these had higher scores than the USA in all 6 dimensions measured.  The USA's best rankings were 23 in "Behavior and Risks" and "Housing and Environment"; the lowest was 27 in "Education"

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:16:56 PM PDT

    •  Links (0+ / 0-)

      The Washington Post article centers on Child Poverty which is one of the 6 dimensions measured in the Unicef report. The full report is available in English here (.pdf)

      An interactive version of the data sets is on the Unicef site.

      We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:23:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It varies widely between states (0+ / 0-)

    Some US states seem to have a European level of child poverty.

    The data is clear:  States with good or at least passable skiing/snowboarding have lower child poverty.

    We should pass out Rossignols or Burtons to all parents.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 08:07:30 PM PDT

    •  That would be totally consistent with Wilkinson's (0+ / 0-)

      findings re individual US states vs the rest of the country and other nations - see my comment and links above.

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

      by ontario on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:03:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  SSI kept a roof over Ryan's head as a kid (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, tb mare, OhioNatureMom, bluebrain

    I guess Paul forgot his childhood.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:39:24 AM PDT

  •  : (6+ / 0-)

    “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ― Frederick Douglass

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:39:51 AM PDT

  •  Harry Leslie Smith (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, tb mare, OhioNatureMom

    I ran into this guy on the Guardian comment boards. He has been scathing about the Tory government austerity measures, speaking from his experience growing up poor in Yorkshire during the Depression. He also seemed to be a very good writer, with a lot of empathy and little polemic.
    Someone else commented later that he had a web page, which is how I found my way to his book, 1923: A Memoir Lies and Testaments. Not too many autobiographies have been written from the bottom rung of the ladder. If you want to know what austerity does to the poor kids whose families struggle to survive, this is a good place to start. Granted that he writes about 1930s England, but the governments attempting to pay down the WWI debt on the backs of the poor is very much like what is happening now.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:44:46 AM PDT

  •  I guess folks are okay with this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as long as they think the alternative is tyrannical communism. poverty is the price we pay for freedom. (sigh)

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:45:29 AM PDT

  •  Which is why it makes perfect sense to pay (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, tb mare, OhioNatureMom, a2nite

    for the war and banks with entitlements.  Serious people compromise with other peoples' money and lives.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:45:54 AM PDT

  •  Strive to be the worst! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, a2nite

    Reword that '80s sports movie training montage song:

    "You're the worst...around...nothing's gonna ever let you off the're the worst...around..."

    Democracy is a habit, not a circumstance.

    by Troubadour on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:49:43 AM PDT

  •  I wish (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I could have each of these kids over for dinner every night. We're not remotely wealthy, but we are financially secure. I wish I could feed them all and buy them a pair of shoes and an xbox.

    I suppose that's why I'm a "bleeding heart liberal," right?

    Energy, Budget Tax cuts, Lift American Spirits

    by my pet rock on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:00:03 AM PDT

  •  I have no doubt that Ryan and his ilk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...will say that only if we unleash the free market will this problem be solved.

    Their worldview does not admit of god other than the "guiding hand" of the free market.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:00:15 AM PDT

  •  Childhood poverty demands recalculation of budget (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While real aid to children and their education declines, more money is funneled to the elderly.   The solution is NOT to cut benefits to the elderly because there are common sense solutions. There are mechanisms in ACA to make medical care more economically efficient. Government pension programs can be reformed by increasing contributions through elimination of caps on FICA, means testing and rationalizing COLAs on a progressive scale.  The inexorable truth is that while childhood well-being has deteriorated in America, the elderly have become less impoverished.  

  •  Who cares? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, a2nite, bluebrain

    Part of the issue is, we find it difficult to look at our "leaders" daily on television, newspapers, websites, etc., and come to the realization that with few exceptions, they just don't care about our nation's children.  Oh, some may talk a good game and say the "right things" on Sunday morning talk shows, on the campaign stump and in op-ed pieces, but the reality is, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, are not doing what it takes to ensure adequate shelter, nutrition, medical care and education for disadvantaged children in our country.

    When it comes to ensuring that embryos are "safeguarded" from the moment hormones start-a-raging, we seem to have a game plan well underway to thwart any attempt to interfere with the "rights" of the unborn.  It's that pesky little problem of what to do once they arrive that's so damn difficult to tackle.

    The longer we tolerate this complete failure of government to do what it was (arguably) established to do, i.e., service the basic needs of the most vulnerable in society, we have only ourselves to blame for such a shameful standing in the world when it comes to childhood poverty.

    "The highest patriotism is not blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

    by Progressive Pride on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:02:49 AM PDT

  •  The poor quality and unafforadbility (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, a2nite

    of childcare doesn't help.  See here:

    If we had nationalized, subsidized, and regulated child and infant care, more parents could 1) work instead of staying home with their children, thus bringing in more income, or work at better-paying, but more demanding, less family-friendly jobs, and 2) instead of spending a large chunk of their salaries on day care, they could spend it instead on food, clothes, lodging, etc., thus stimulating the economy.  

    Why this isn't a national issue of utmost importance is just baffling to me.  

    •  Or...... (0+ / 0-)

      People could not have children they can't afford.  Lol, who am I fooling?  That would require people to act responsibly and nobody wants that.  We definitely need another multi billion dollar government program that is outlined in a 5000 page bill and costs five times more than estimated. In case you feel like you didn't pay enough!

      by uhswhut on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 12:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  didn't they already capture suspect #2 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, Matt Z

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (TX):"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted"

    by annieli on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:22:08 AM PDT

  •  I am an Obamabot but Chained CPI pathetic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, Matt Z

    I don't care what his triangulating strategy is. This will impoverish older adults in the end too, no matter what preventative mechanism they put in. And boy is it a losing electoral strategy. And if they put so many in, why do the damn thing in the first place, Simply increase the SS tax on more wages (Medicare too).

  •  Really? Have you seen our children? (0+ / 0-)

    Impoverished? Maybe, malnourished? Definetly not. Child obesity is rampant. My biggest concern is an epidemic of  diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease as these butterballs go from foodstamps to Medicaid.

  •  Every time I look at those eyes (0+ / 0-)

    I just want to poke my fingers in them.

  •  Inexcusable and shameful. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I realize that Ryan is a part of any economic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SottoVoce, CABlueDog

    news, since he's some sort of "economic expert", at least by Republican standards.  Can I, however, ask you to print a drawing or no picture at all of this guy?  Looking at a photo of this smug simpleton just about sends me through the roof.  He is the least impressive, least charismatic, and least informed person to be on a national ticket, other than the famous lady from Alaska, in my memory.  Other than Spiro Agnew, another huge fail, I am at a loss to understand how these people were ever elected to anything higher than some board of alderman in a one horse town.

  •  What's wrong with our lazy children? (0+ / 0-)

    Why can't they get jobs and pull themselves up by their booty-straps?  Always looking for free milk or something!

    Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

    by rustypatina on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 01:10:35 PM PDT

  •  Tangential comment (0+ / 0-)

    Is it just me, or does that picture make Paul Ryan look like a cross between Eddie Munster and the house elves from Harry Potter?

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