Is government funding for the elderly shortchanging America’s young?
“Are rising outlays on programs for the aged squeezing out spending on programs for children, especially investments in their schooling?” This question is asked by many including Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless. Burtless believes the case for stingier policies for the elderly is way oversold.
Kids’ Share, a report issued annually by the Urban Institute, compares federal spending on children with other federal spending. In 2011, spending per person on those 65 and over totaled almost $28,000, while per-person spending on children 18 and under was about $4,900, a ration of nearly 6 to 1. But, Burtless points out, most government spending for children occurs at the state and local levels through public schools. Including this makes the imbalance “less extreme than the federal budget” alone. Still, the imbalance is large–2.3 to 1.
More important, Burtless concludes, there’s no evidence that spending on the elderly has actually squeezed school funding. Over the past seven decades, he writes, spending per student has outpaced inflation and economic growth per person. From 1980 to 2011, spending per student after inflation climbed almost 80 percent. But it peaked in 2008 and was down 7 percent in 2011, he notes.
Here are some projections from Kids’ Share to cause concern. From 2000 to 2015, spending on the elderly (Social Security, Medicare and the non-child share of Medicaid) is projected to rise from 38 percent of the federal budget to 49 percent. Over the same period, children’s share drops from 8.5 percent to 7.7 percent.
The world we leave to our children needs balanced and competent government. Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, receives its funding from federal and state government and Salt Lake School District. It could use much more for more teachers thus smaller classes thus increased graduations. The new beginning Horizonte provides is government funded. The applied tech and college scholarship opportunity is privately funded.
Those graduating with applied tech and college careers will provide much greater contributions to federal, state and local treasuries for government assistance to youth and the elderly. And they’ll make private contributions to continue Horizonte scholarships. Together a solution to poverty.