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Does the President's New Budget Invest in Kids?
A child goes to bed hungry because his family's food assistance was cut. An asthma patient can't see her doctor after the only nearby clinic is closed down. A second-grader struggles to focus in an overcrowded classroom in an underfunded school. These are only a few of the real-world consequences for millions of American kids if the president's new budget proposal is approved by Congress.
Budgets force us to make complicated choices about what we can and cannot afford for our own families and for our entire nation. And budgets are about our values, what we want for our kids and for our country. At Common Sense Kids Action, we think everyone should have a chance to understand and weigh in on the president's budget and the impact it will have on children, families, and our country's future. And now is the time: Congress is preparing to make decisions that could affect generations to come. Your voice can make a difference.
America has a long history of investing in our kids as a smart way to spend our tax dollars and grow our economy. We established the public school system and state universities for all kids. We created programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to help ensure that lower-income kids and families have essential access to health care and food. And we established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce clean air and clean water laws that matter to the healthy development of kids and to the safety of all of us. As a society, we have seen that ensuring the opportunity for all kids to thrive is what truly makes America great.
And that's what concerns us about the president's budget. It turns the tables on our kids and their future. The budget makes some of the deepest cuts ever proposed to vital programs for America's kids: a 13 percent cut to the Department of Education, which enforces civil rights laws and equity efforts; a 31 percent cut to the EPA that keeps our kids' air clean; a 25 percent cut to SNAP, a major food-assistance program that feeds one out of every five American kids; and a startling 47 percent cut to Medicaid, from which 37 million kids receive care when they're sick or injured. This budget leaves our kids on their own, undermines their potential, and hurts our economy.
Most parents spend a large portion of their income on their kids, for child care, health insurance, college tuition, food, entertainment, and cultural enrichment. As the adage goes, it's expensive to have kids. It's not any different in public policy -- at least, it shouldn't be. Members of Congress need to hear from us that we believe they have a responsibility to keep investing in our kids, too, for education, health care, nutrition, and environmental protection. That's the American way, because when we invest in kids, we invest in all of us.