I’m used to reading dismal, depressing, demoralizing statistics about Oakland. But the news that 16 percent of children in Oakland live in extreme poverty has literally left me shaking and stupid. That’s 13,000 kids—one out of every six children in the 78-square-mile area that comprises the city of Oakland. This staggering page of Oakland data from the 23rd edition of the Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation includes the information that, as of 2010, nearly half (44%) of Oakland kids lived in a family where no parent has year-round, full-time employment. I can’t imagine that statistic or any of the others have improved in the past two years.
In Oakland, 16 percent of children lived in “extreme poverty” as of 2010, with extreme poverty defined as living in a household whose income was $11,057 or below (or specifically half the federal poverty rate of $22,113 for a family of four).
California is 41st in overall child well-being and it’s likely to only get worse. A June 1, 2012 analysis of the California State Budget by Children Now says that the budget “places children squarely in harm’s way” and warns that if voters reject the governor’s attempt to generate new revenue via passage of a temporary sales and income tax measure on the November ballot, it will automatically trigger even more draconian cuts. Education will bear the brunt (90%) of these cuts, the analysis says, putting children’s well-being at “substantial additional risk.”
You know, President Obama was just in Oakland and I bet he had a lot to say about this sorry state of affairs. According to the SF Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, here’s how he was introduced at his Fox Theater fundraiser on Monday:
President Bush left us in the worst condition since the Great Depression,” said Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, as the audience erupted into a chorus of boos at the mention of the GOP president’s name. “But things are turning around. This president’s policies have seen 28 consecutive months of private sector job growth….we are in a make or break moment for the American worker.
Hmmmm. Seems like Barbara Lee No Longer Speaks For Me. Well, anyway, Obama must have offered some concrete solutions to the impoverished children watching as he whizzed by in his limo on the way to his three fundraisers. Or maybe not. At least not anything I can find. But hey, no worries, his staff probably brought it to his attention immediately that children are fucking starving in his very own country and he’s probably working on fixing it as we speak, right? Right?