紧缩儿童

发自华盛顿——当经济学家谈到“财政调整”时,他们通常会将其描述成一个抽象复杂的目标。但这个问题其实很简单:谁来承受这些用以降低预算赤字的紧缩措施的冲击。要么提高对某些人群的征税,要么减少支出——或者两者同时进行。“财政调整”是行话;其实紧缩这东西就是个收入分配问题。

欧洲大部分国家都已经意识到了这一点。现在轮到美国了。目前那里的迹象表明:受财政紧缩直接冲击的是那些最无力保护自己的人群——来自相对贫穷家庭的儿童。例如当前的预算扣押(Budget sequester,即全面开支削减)像开端计划(Head Start)这种支持儿童学前教育的项目。

美国喜剧演员吉米·吉梅尔(Jimmy Kimmel)最近调侃自己的同胞缺乏财政知识,他在好莱坞大道上问行人如何看待“奥巴马赦免这种在押人员(sequester的另一含义)并将其送往到葡萄牙的决定。”这些采访片段很滑稽,但也很悲哀,因为它实际影响着一些人的生活。在我们目前的财政进程下约七万名儿童很有可能失去参与开端计划这类项目的机会。

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