Thought I'd post this diary as a pointer to an item over at Political Animal, where Kathleen Geier takes note of a chilling op ed in the NY Times from Sunday. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has looked at how child abuse has soared even as austerity has cut the resources available to deal with it.
The real story about child maltreatment during the recession is a grim one. I spent months studying this topic, using a number of different data sources, including Google search queries. I found that the Great Recession caused a significant increase in child abuse and neglect. But far fewer of these cases were reported to authorities, with much of the drop due to slashed budgets for teachers, nurses, doctors and child protective service workers.
The story is pretty horrific - and revealing. Geier wonders how effective using Google as an investigative tool, and Stephens-Davidowitz responded.
Geier's recap of the op-ed is a succinct indictment of the G.O.P. open class warfare (see Paul Krugman for more). As Geier puts it:
So, to recap: first, financial elites wrecked the global economy. The result was an historic recession that, among other things, led to sharp increases in the numbers of children who were beaten, neglected, and even killed. While all this was going on, stinking rich greedheads, the lunatic right, and their assorted useful idiots made things even worse by banding together to demand budget cuts. Those cuts deepened and prolonged the recession, which led to even more child abuse, and also eviscerated social services. The resulting social service cuts created the false belief that the rate of child abuse was declining, because it made it more difficult to report abuse. Those same cuts also aggravated the negative impact of the abuse, by making it harder for victims to get help.
But hey, ultra-deserving gazillionaires like Mitt Romney got to hold onto their massive fortunes, their lavish homes, and various other can’t-live-without-‘em perks (a stable full of horses for Ann!) And anyway, what are few more dead kids, compared to near-historic low tax rates? Can’t you just smell the freedom?
We are in the hands of crazy people, wreaking damage that will last for generations.