Maybe some of you read the same article that I did. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics more than one half of American babies are at risk for malnourishment. Quite a statistic for one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Does it have to be that way? Is our economic system so perverse that such high levels of poverty are inevitable? Or maybe, have we as a society made some decisions that have sent us down this path of suffering, inequality and greed instead of down a path of wellness, equality and community?
How can a country that claims to be “exceptional” allow the three wealthiest people to own as much as the bottom 50 percent of the population (according to a recent Pew Research study) and allow one-half of its children to be malnourished? Should it be this way?
In Door County where 7.7 percent of our neighbors live in poverty, we have luxurious condominiums, high-end clothing stores and expensive restaurants. We also have 37 percent of our school-age children receiving free or reduced cost school lunches (and where do those lunches come from when the schools are closed?) Is this the best way to do this?
Aside from the fact that we are talking about children, babies, and infants; we are also talking about the future of the country. In the first 1,000 days of life a baby’s IQ, propensity for obesity, the likeliness to suffer from hypertension and diabetes are determined. Accordingly the prospects for academic achievement and job success are also being formed. By not taking care of our children we are setting the stage for a troubled and expensive future for both those individuals and society as a whole. Does it have to be this way?
The average monthly food voucher under the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program is $30 for a family of four. Republican Wisconsin Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan just applauded the Republican Tax Bill because it gave a young family a raise of $1.50 per week! He did not mention that the Koch Bros. will receive a $1.4 billion tax break because of this tax bill. We are not taking care of our children, their future, or even our future with this type of public policy. Our own Congressman Mike Gallagher has been relatively quiet about his “yes” vote on the so-called tax reform bill. We all should call or write him and ask him if he put the interests of Northeast Wisconsin children ahead of the interests of the Koch Bros. Ask for evidence of his actions. Hold him accountable. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us. It doesn’t have to be this way; we can do better.
Sister Bay, Wis.