Kids & Cash

What we spend (or don’t) on children says a lot about American priorities.

Illustration: Greg Clarke

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In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that, due to rising obesity rates, doctors check the blood pressure of kids three and up.

To pay for a 10-year-old’s college education, parents will need to save $82,000 for in-state public college, $176,000 for private college.

In 2000, American parents named 353 newborns “Lexus,” 164 “Nautica,” 21 “L’Oréal,” 7 “Courvoisier,” and 1 “Xerox.”

Twice as much is spent on marketing to kids than in 1992.

The average public school teacher spends $521 of their own money to buy supplies for their students.

In 2003, Coca-Cola gave a million-dollar grant to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

30% of all children under the age of three have a TV in their bedroom.

13 million children live in households suffering from hunger or food insecurity.

In 48 states, daycare for a four-year-old costs more than tuition at a four-year public college.

Only 49% of child support is ever collected.

Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative has been “authorized” for $17.2 billion more than it has actually received.

For Christmas last year, Mattel made seven Barbies with a shopping theme, including Let’s Grocery Shop! Barbie.

2 in 3 parents think their kids define their self-worth by their possessions.

Until it went bankrupt, FAO Schwartz sold a functioning kid’s ATM for $20,000.

Posh Tots will provide children with an exact replica of their parents’ home for $40,000 or less.

3/4 of public schools are in need of repairs, renovations, and modernization.

63% of whites think that black and white children get equal educational opportunities. Only 31% of blacks agree.

70% of public schools participate in a “business relationship” with corporations.

40% of the homeless are families with children.

89% of uninsured children are children of color.

1/3 of California public school students do not have the books necessary to do their homework.

Hillsborough, Fla., public schools got $50 million for agreeing to only sell Pepsi Co. products.

A child’s “pimp daddy” costume from brandsonsale.com costs $57.95.

Public schools in the wealthiest neighborhoods win state team championships at more than twice the rate of poor school districts.

Burger King runs 24 “academies” for dropouts.

On average, states spend almost three times as much per prisoner as per public school pupil.

According to Harvard’s Civil Rights Project, 75% of whites, 50% of blacks, and 53% of Latinos graduate high school on time.

Teen and “tween” boys buy more than $2.1 billion in beauty products a year.

Each week, the typical American teen consumes a full work-week’s worth of commercial media.

8 in 10 Americans say “it is very difficult for a middle-class family to afford a college education.”

The average 18-year-old has seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV.

The U.S. has twice as many shopping malls as high schools.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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