A recent column by Paul Krugman in the Mercury News (Oct. 6) titled: “What securing the future means in today’s America, Climate and Children” really caught my eye and reflected my concern about what’s missing in the public debate over how much to spend on “social infrastructure.”
Instead of emphasizing child poverty, the “education gap,” family economic insecurity, early childhood adverse experiences, lack of quality child care, racial inequality and climate change we hear only“$3.5 trillion! $3.5 trillion” to quote Krugman. On budget issues he asks: “If elite opinion cares so much about the future, why isn’t there any comparable consensus now about the need for climate action and spending on children?” The American Academy of Pediatrics has said in many ways that the foundation of our nations’ security is our investment in children. First Five of San Mateo says it this way: “Success For Every Child.” This has to be reflected in national policy by spending now to make it happen later. Investing in the health and well-being of children and families now makes strong economic sense by preventing illness and disability and improving the quality of life for our future citizens.
President Biden is right for emphasizing the well-being and health of our nations families as well as its bridges and highways. The public needs to hear this debate, and fully understand how we are all responsible for securing a better and healthier future for our children.
Harvey S. Kaplan, MD, FAAP (Retired)