TheUnited States has been spending so much money to fight poverty yet todate it remains one of the countries with the highest child povertyrates in most of the developed nations (Porter 1). It is documentedthat one in every five children in America is poor. Using theinternational standards that has the poverty line at one-half theincome of the families on the middle rung of the income chart, it isnoted that the level of tolerance of child poverty in the UnitedStates was more than 30 of the 35 countries that are in theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Porter1). Thispaper seeks to find out the reasons why child poverty is critical,reasons for child poverty, and effects of child poverty and offerrecommendations.
Settingthe poverty line at the approximately US $23,000 for a family made upof four members, the Census Bureau at the United States in 2011approximated that more than 16 million US children that live in poorfamilies. Poor children are known to start their schooling andacademics way after the affluent partners have done so. Owing tothis, they lose ground during the school years. The effectsacademically are negative as poor US kindergarten children are knownto have lower levels of reading and mathematics skills(Duncan, Kalil, and Ziol-Guest 27).In regards to their behaviors, they are less behaved as compared tothe more affluent ones. The trend and the habit are carriedthroughout as the children from the poor families proceed to completeless schooling, they earn less compared to the affluent ones andoften are less healthy. Currently, the U.S has a higher proportion ofpoor children compared to Norway or Netherlands or Russia. In fact,the percentage of the poor children is three times higher in U.S ascompared to Norway or the Netherlands(DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Smith 5).
WhyChild Poverty Matters
Povertyis a highly important issue to the American society as it can beconsidered as a national security matter, an economic security issueand moral issue (Walton 1). Poverty is always a threat to any societygiven that failure to invest in the children only means that thefuture will be doomed. It will all be failures and America will be acountry that individuals do not deserve. Notably, it is important tonote that competition in the global world is impossible when thefuture of the children is in jeopardy (Walton 1). Competition is notpossible when the majority of all races cannot read correctly at thegrade level. A case in point is the military failing to absorb mostof the 18-22 years old because they have health issues or rather theyare illiterate (Walton 1). This will mean that the super powerposition of the country will be at stake(Egger 1).The policies that have been set need to be revised to accommodate thechanges so that there is an active population in place. America needsto invest in the children to ensure that the wide gap that existsbetween greed and creed is reduced (Walton 1).
Reasonsfor the Child Poverty
Thechild tax deduction is one such policy that is not entirely wellthought. Through this policy, families exclude $4,000 a child fromthe taxable income. In effect, the policy mostly avoids the poor.This policy costs the federal budget approximately $40 billion, butonly 1 percent of it goes to the poorest fifth of the population(Porter 1). This means that for every other poor family, the averagebenefit accrued from this tax policy is just $10.
Nonetheless,the $58 billion child tax credit is more progressive (Porter 2). Thischild tax credit reduces a tax bill by $1,000 for every child.However, most of the families that are in the bottom fifth areallocated only ten percent of the money. This then translates to anaverage of $120 annually (Porter 2). Usually, the tax credits resultin difference for most of the poor families as this helps to cut therate of child poverty by almost a third.
Forthe children whose parents do not work, they are likely not to haveany form of cushioning. These children are left to depend on the foodstamps mainly. The American safety net has very little to offer tothe children.
Inabilityto Purchase Acquire Children Needs
Inan economic sense, the focus is on the buying capacity of money(Duncan,Kalil, and Ziol-Guest 29).For the families that lack the economic resources, they cannot be ina position to buy or even produce some of the important basic needsthat impart the development of their children. For the poor families,they cannot purchase the nutritious meals they cannot afford properhome care and better learning environments as well as the safe andstimulating neighborhood that has older children, higher qualityschools, and better education system (Duncan,Kalil, and Ziol-Guest 29).In fact, in PQ Press (904), the lack of children needs is stated tolikely result into crime as stated:
“Childrenwho are reared in poor families, more likely to fail in school, dropout of school, get arrested.”
Qualityof Family Relationship
Childpoverty only means that there are negative effects in regards to thefamily relationships. The quality of family relationships determinesthe quality of child upbringing. Poverty has detrimental effects onchildren. Poverty and economic insecurity for most of the parents arevery detrimental as it affects the mental health that is likely to beone of the reasons for low-income parents’ lack of parentingsupport. Owing to this, some of the parents are likely to bedepressed as well as their children. The depression and other kindsof psychological distress can significantly affect the interactionsbetween the parents and the children (Duncan,Kalil, and Ziol-Guest 29).
Thelow-income parents in comparison to the middle-class parents moreoften use the authoritarian and punitive style of parenting (Duncan,Kalil, and Ziol-Guest 29).Subsequently, they stand fewer chances of providing to the childrenopportunity for stimulating learning experiences in their homes.
Thereis a need to address the issues that concern child poverty in UnitedStates (U.S). One such way of dealing with the issue is from thepolicy viewpoint. The early childhood is mostly one such period wheneconomic deprivation is likely to compromise the health of thechildren as well as the employment opportunities. Owing to this,there is the need to have in place better policy measures to helpsolve the issues that arise which involve mainly deep and persistentpoverty among the children(CQ Press 921).
Thereis also need to check on the trends of poverty rates among childrenespecially deep poverty that occur early in childhood. Through this,the policy discussions concerning the children’s well-being can beproperly informed.
Oneof the ways is also to have a double tax credit for children to$2,000 for every child up to a certain age, the preferable age of 4years. Through this, there is a restructuring of the benefit thatmakes it flow to the very-low-income families. Currently, the creditis worth only $300 to a mother of two who earns $5,000 annually. Whenproperly restructured the value can get to $2,250, which will be morebeneficial as it will get approximately 1.5 million out of poverty(Porter 1).
Abolitionof Tax Credit
Gettingrid of child tax is a good way to tackle the problem as well as theabolition of the child deduction entirely. Upon abolition, thegovernment can then opt to provide a check every month of $250 forevery child in the country. This will ensure that there is minimumlevel of well-being (Porter 1). This is supported when ProfessorTimothy noted that:
“This is an old idea whose time has come(Porter 2).”
Childpoverty is real in the U.S, and it remains a threat and nationaldisaster. Various mechanisms need to be put in place to address theissues. From the discussions, it has emerged that policy matters areof great concern as far as the solving the child poverty isconcerned. The effects of the child poverty are quite detrimental tothe wellbeing of any society and hence the need to address it. Anymeasure to have all children start life from the same script isequally significant. Child poverty remains a painful failure for theUnited States. There is for policies to be queried and changes madeas noted by Professor Shaefer:
“We might be coming into a moment where there could be some common­sensepolicy changes,” Professor Shaefer said. “There is a policy window that wasn’t open ayear or two years ago (Porter 2).”
CQPress. “Child poverty: are out of wedlock births the rootcause?”(2011). Retrieved from cqresearcher.com [Accessed7/11.2016].
DeNavas-Walt,Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith. "US CensusBureau, current population reports, P60-238." Income,poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States:2009 (2010).
Duncan,Greg J., Ariel Kalil, and Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest. "Earlychildhood poverty and adult achievement, employment andhealth." FamilyMatters 93(2013): 27.
Egger,Robert. 5 Myths about hunger in America. (November 21, 2010).Retrieved fromhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp%C2%ADdyn/content/article/2010/11/19/AR2010111906872_pf.html[Accessed 7/11/2016]
Porter,Eduardo. “Giving Every Child a Monthly Check for an Even Start.”NewYorkTimes.Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/business/economy/giving-every-child-a-monthly-check-for-an-even-start.html?_r=0[Access 07/11/2016].
Walton,Beth. “Marian Wright Edelman talks child poverty”.Citizen-Times.(October 6, 2016). Retrieved fromhttp://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2016/10/06/marian-wright-edelman-talks-child-poverty/91569234/[Accessed 7/11/2016].