T he economic meltdown brought to us by decades of Republican trickle-down economic policies and deregulation has left millions out of work, their savings trashed, their homes in jeopardy or in foreclosure, their financial well-being shattered.
Many of those devastated low-income and middle-income Americans have children whose present is severely damaged and whose future will be greatly diminished.
Dr. Peggy Drexler discusses the dimensions of what presidents Reagan, Bush 41, to a lesser extent, Clinton, Bush 43 and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan have wrought in a HuffPo blog post, Parents and Poverty: This Recession Can Hurt for a Generation.
It will be years before we’ll know how fear and uncertainty are shaping the futures of children caught in the crossfire of changed lives and anxious parents. A Brookings Institution report “Families of Recession — Unemployed Parents & Their Children” sees cause for concern. Children pushed into poverty by a recession, the report says, are three times more likely to be poor themselves than those who managed to stay more affluent. “In short, “say the authors, “the conditions of today will give rise to the next generation of poor Americans.”
A big part of that is the impact of poverty on education — children of families that are driven into poverty by the recession are 15 percent less likely to finish high school and 20 percent less likely to finish college than the non-poor.
For years, and with increasing intensity during George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans in Congress repeated how crucial it was to reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. Republicans said doing that would make our economy flourish, creating jobs aplenty and ushering in an era of unprecedented prosperity for all.
Republicans got their way on capital gains, along with lots of other things that turned out to be bad for the economy and the country.
Yet for all their capital gains tax talk, Republicans seldom if ever mentioned the human capital so vital to America’s future. Republicans didn’t mention that because they care little about human capital, whether it’s today’s or tomorrow’s.
Republicans do care about corporate executives and trustees. Republicans care about wealthy investors and the financial industry that serves them. After all, those are the people who fund their campaigns, pay for attack ads against their opponents and keep conservative think tanks and broadcast media churning out propaganda 24/7/365.
If you aren’t among Republicans’ favored few, you and your children are of no concern to them. Republican conservatives and their tea party and libertarian surrogates are economic Darwinists who believe in survival of the fittest.
Heads we win, tails you lose: Poverty and joblessness are proof of being unfit in conservative Republicans’ eyes. That’s how they see it even if they and their rich backers are responsible for your lack of a job and your poverty.
Survival of the greediest and most selfish — that’s what Republican politics and family values are really all about.
Those, unfortunately, are Republican family values, but they’re not American family values.