The “new normal”: A cop-out in defense of the status quo

February 4, 2011 | Alex Stone

Declining Fortunes of Children in MIddle Class Families

Continued state budget cuts are lowering future prospects for the children of middle class families, according to a new report issued by The Foundation for Child Development (FDC), aptly titled “The Declining Fortunes of Children in Middle Class Families“.

According to the FDC, over the past 25 years, public education and health programs have stepped in to provide essential services for middle-class children that their parents cannot afford or take for granted. In particular, researchers have identified access to health insurance and enrollment in early learning programs as particularly critical for children’s long-term well-being and success.

Given those findings, it is ironic to see our state seriously considering proposals to end the Basic Health Plan, stop childcare subsidies for working parents, and carve billions out of K-12 education, while leaving millions in corporate tax exemptions on the books.

As the middle class erodes, we’ve seen the income gap between the richest and poorest families widen, and prospects for job security and retirement security lost. I’ve often heard this generational reversal of fortune blithely referred to as “the new normal”. But I think  Stan Sorscher (also an EOI Board Member) got it right when he called that phrase “some goofy hypnotic code for giving up on opportunities for our children and accepting diminished futures.”

The FDC report is a stark reminder that the choices we make today will define the “normal” for future generations. We have the power to create the future we want for our children and grandchildren by creating a foundation of strong educational, health and social support systems that make it possible for everyone to prosper.

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Posted in Tax and Budget

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