A couple of weeks ago, some of my accomplished colleagues released an immensely distressing study that bolsters the correlation. Chapel Hill and Madison medical scholars demonstrated that poverty has a direct, potent and harmful impact on early brain development.
By age 4, kids living in economic distress show diminished brain tissue essential to processing information. Potential identifying causes included poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, lack of suitable reading materials and stimulation, parental stress and unsafe physical environments. The causal list was long and non-exhaustive. The conclusion, though, was linear and inescapable: Poor kids begin to experience diminished life chances almost immediately.
In North Carolina we have doubled-down on this situational effect. Massive cuts to unemployment benefits and the reckless mismanagement of the food stamp pipeline have unnecessarily endangered the nutritional health and physical security of thousands of NC children, and Republicans are showing little interest in solving these problems. The only children they seem to care about are the ones that might make their charter/private school dream come true, and the rest can go suck an egg. If they can find one.
Republican legislative leaders are crafting a package of changes to North Carolina's tax code that they say will stimulate economic growth, including slapping a 6 percent sales tax on groceries. Food should be taxed, they say, because grocery spending is dependable.
The proper form of the word is "dependent". As in, we are dependent upon food for our very survival. Of all the consumption-based taxes, this one is (by far) the worst. Instituting a regressive tax in an area that is already past the crisis point is easily the most irresponsible move our government could make, aside from maybe running children down at crosswalks:
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