As we near the end of July, it is clear our overlapping health and economic crises show no sign of abating—in fact, they are on the verge of becoming much worse. Congress and the president now face crucial and urgent choices in averting a depression and creating a recovery that addresses the pain that has been disproportionately exacted on women.
Economic mobility is little more than a myth for most people who grow up in families with low incomes. A child born in poverty in the early 1980s had single-digit chances of having a high income as an adult. If we want to simply raise incomes from one generation to the next, we’re failing. Nearly all Americans born in 1940 had incomes higher than their parents’ by the time they reached the same age, but today, only half of adults born in 1980 make more than their parents did.
The Trump administration has proposed a change in the way the federal government measures poverty. On the surface, this proposal may appear to be an innocuous, technical adjustment. It’s not. Instead, this change would dramatically reduce the number of people who qualify for vital basic assistance programs, including Medicaid, children’s health care and food assistance.
Nearly 10 years into an economic recovery, young people in the United States are still struggling. Youth unemployment rates are double that of the prime-age U.S. population, and an estimated 4.6 million individuals ages 16-24 are neither in school nor working. Youth of color face disproportionately higher disconnection rates and additional barriers to school and career success. Young people are forced to navigate too many uncoordinated, underfunded systems — often on their own.