More Help for Poor Children

Despite the recession, the public supports more government help for poor children, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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It’s tempting to think the average voter would be inclined to view more spending on poor children as a luxury the country can’t afford during the current recession. But that does not appear to be the case according to a new CBS News poll. The poll asked the public whether “the federal government should or should not use taxpayer money” to provide the following “for all children whose families can’t afford it”: health care; day care and after-school care; meals in schools; and dental care. In each case, the public responded positively, with majorities ranging from 58 to 85 percent in favor.

chart showing data from CBS news poll

New programs, though, could mean additional taxes. Yet this possibility does not frighten the public. Another question in the survey finds a 51-44 percent majority saying they would be willing to pay more in taxes to support government spending on children’s programs.

chart showing data about public supporting higher taxes to pay for government spending on children's programs

These findings show that the public is still sensitive to the plight of the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us in the current downturn. Policymakers, take note.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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