Children — Collateral Damage, Political Carnage

Legislators Toss Kids into the Trash

Diane Nilan


trash pile with kids’ pics
Kids Trashed Photo Pat Van Doren (with permission)

My friend Pat LaMarche is fond of quoting me,

“We must be a mighty wealthy country if we can afford to throw our kids away.”

Never has this been so true.

Senators, so you can know what we’re throwing away (don’t you hate it when you inadvertently toss something of value into the trash?), here’s a brief, not-all-inclusive review:

  • 10 million kids (and families) no longer receiving the life-sustaining monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Since you’re not likely to consider Universal Basic Income for another 100 years, the tax credit was the next best thing. Gone.
  • 10 million kids needing child care, unaffordable to their parents. We sure wouldn’t want to give the parents a chance to go out and earn a paycheck, would we?
  • 2 million childcare workers, almost all women, whose pitiful paychecks don’t make it worth risking their lives to do their job. Their children, and those they could be serving, are stuck at home, if they’re lucky enough to have one.
  • 8+ million children and youth experiencing homelessness, about 80% Not Homeless Enough to be considered homeless by HUD, therefore they do without a place to call home, while the first step to a solution, the Homeless Children and Youth Act languishes in Congress. How’s your home?
  • 12.5 million kids stuck in poverty, with all the “trimmings,” inadequate health care, toxic home environments, schools in shambles, survival-challenged parents, and so many other “benefits” of living in poverty in this rich nation.
  • 90% of people living in America, the non-millionaire/billionaire segment of the population, held hostage by the Senate’s inability to function.

Rather than expound in a long post that nobody will read, especially “busy” legislators*, let me just point out one aspect of the above neglect that should trouble us all:

Down the road, the children we neglect today will be the adults of tomorrow. How functional/not they are as adults depends on how they are nurtured as children. That’s up to the adults in the room, and in Congress, today.

You could rightly accuse me of pure self-interest on my part, wanting functional adults as I whisk through my last chapter. Let’s not toss the kids, OK?

*Some legislators are really trying to do the right thing. Their colleagues, not so much.

** You are invited to TAKE ACTION for the Homeless Children and Youth Act. It takes a few moments, and who knows, it might actually finally get this legislation passed.



Diane Nilan

Founder/pres. HEAR US Inc., gives voice & visibility to homeless families & youth, ran shelters, advocate, filmmaker, author, 18 yrs. on US backroads.