Health of US children gets failing grade
by H Salari In the annual Report Card on Children's Health released by the American Health Foundation, the US received a "D" rating for its children's health, down from a "C" last year. Here we are, not talking about the plight of hundreds of millions of children who are dying yearly of hunger, diseases, violence and war all around the world — a calamity that is directly related to the greedy acts of imperialism. But we can clearly see the continuously increasing misery of the children of the US, the leading imperialist country. A study prepared for Kaiser Permanente by Oakland's Children Now found that large numbers of young people feared for their personal safety. Small children fear death, violence or abuse, while teenagers report that they or their peers are increasingly suicidal. A Colombia University report shows that child poverty is increasing in the US and one in four children live in poverty. In Clay County, West Virginia, the majority of people are living under the poverty line and the majority of their children satisfy their hunger with free food provided by their schools, without which they would go to bed hungry. The US ABC Network News reported last year that 28 percent of Hispanic children and 30 percent of African American children (about 12 million) live in absolute poverty, hungry and deprived of health care and education. New York City had a 60 percent increase in the number of homeless people from 2001 to 2002. Every night, about 35,000 homeless people, of which 15,000 are children, line up to spend the night at a shelter, with cockroaches, mice and fear of violence. In many states child welfare benefits are being cut to meet budget deficits — Florida, New York, North Carolina and California are examples. Access to Medicare is denied and children are left defenceless against the simplest diseases. Recently, even child foster care funding has been decreased dramatically. And last but not least, subsidised daycare for many children is being cut this year. We are witnessing a rapid increase in the misery of the people, all around the world, coinciding with the growing aggressiveness and greed of imperialism. This blind system of exploitation hits the most vulnerable — the children — most severely. It is a trend that will continue with the existence of capitalism.
* * *Peoples' Weekly World