Note to Kids: Life’s a Crapshoot, Get Used to It
Sequester’s Head Start Cut Exposes Kids to the Lottery at an Early Age
As I read the following story, I was sincerely hoping it would prove to be an April Fool’s item – but alas, that is not the case. It’s actually a story from mid-March, which I just learned about today, via Jared Bernstein’s blog (On the Economy, which is well worth following if you have an interest in federal fiscal issues and/or economic policy).
“At least two Indiana Head Start programs have resorted to a random drawing to determine which three-dozen preschool students will be removed from the education program for low-income families, a move officials said was necessary to limit the impact of mandatory across-the-board federal spending cuts.”
This sort of story is likely to become much more common over the next month or two, and perhaps far more so in coming years. Thus far, most of the effects of the sequester haven’t kicked in. Even among Head Start programs, most are waiting for more details about the magnitude of the cuts before taking action; however, the longer it takes to apply the cuts, the deeper those cuts have to be over the second half of the current federal fiscal year.
Jared offers a couple of suggestions for other ways to generate revenue and reduce the federal deficit without resorting to random drawings to determine which young children get a head start. Unless federal policymakers are willing to consider revenue options, such as scaling back tax exemptions and loopholes, the budget bills for fiscal year 2014 and beyond will subject far more children to random and not-so-random cuts in cost-effective services that have been preparing them to be productive members of America’s future workforce.