The holiday season presents a stark contrast in 2011 especially. All of us want to enjoy this time of family, fun, special food and events, and personal ‘inventories’. This is an opportunity to focus on values, faith, goals, and dreams.
The contrast: people seeking work while Congress ‘punts’; hungry elderly whose buying power is diminished continually with rising prices in goods and services; single mother families whose poverty rate across this country in 2010 was a whopping 40.7%, the 1-in-5 children in the US who live in poverty and the 1-in-4 children at risk of hunger.
How do we/does society reconcile the joy we so seek during these holidays and the reality of our economy and our politics? Hope? Prayer? Action? Inaction?
If we can’t figure it out during the holidays when hearts and minds seem most dedicated to seeking true peace, harmony, and blessing, then will there be an answer?
As we all know, budgets (government and personal) are and have been suffering greatly for most of us. We hear plenty of talk about tax cuts; restructuring the entitlements of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and in Oklahoma the weekly pleas of social services, city governments, education, and state employees for more fiscal resources.
Both in Oklahoma and nationally there are cries from Higher Education for more money and a well-presented case for raising tuition rates. The key is the tie of more college degrees to economic strength.
Yesterday I was presented with a different statistic that has paused me to think once more. It is reported that a poor child is 5 times more likely to also be poor between the ages of 25-30. In other words, poverty appears to breed poverty and be lingering for these youth. It follows that their mental, emotional and physical development may then not have them prepared (or interested?) in a college career. Economic strength may mean “where is my next meal” and “will I be warm enough tonight”?
The presenter of this poverty statistic goes on to suggest that in these lean times decision makers should be investing in young children and their development, if we must continue to make these hard choices.
Something to think about…….