Public Radio: Low Taxes = Sick Children

     What’s hurting America’s kids? Tax cuts.

     That was the conclusion of one study by a liberal policy group, Every Child Matters. And a February 22 Marketplace segment by American Public Media reported it without question. American Public Media produces radio programs that are often picked up by National Public Radio station affiliates.

     Reporter Eric Niiler said children in states with low tax rates are more likely to suffer from “insufficient prenatal care, early death, child abuse and imprisonment” because they don’t spend as much on social programs.

      “The hidden price tags of tax cuts are reduced child health and in all too many cases, increased risk of premature mortality,” warned Michael Petit, president of Every Child Matters. Petit donated $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign in 2004, according to

     Niiler’s cited Petit’s list of top-performing states for child health care: New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts, all states that gave their electoral votes to Kerry in the 2004 election. Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico, states that gave their electoral votes to President George W. Bush, ranked among the bottom of the list Niiler cited.

     Every Child Matters, Niiler reported, is calling for a $500-billion federally funded health care program to cover all uninsured children.

     The report didn’t give any alternatives to taxpayer-funded universal care, nor did it explore benefits of tax cuts. The Christian Science Monitor reported on February 21 that the federal deficit is shrinking because of a booming economy’s tax revenues.

     Niiler also failed to consider other reasons for Petit’s results like overall state revenue, a contention The Heritage Foundation’s Nina Owcharenko made in a U.S. News and World Report article published January 25 about the same study.

     Calling Petit’s idea for a $500-billion health care program for children “shortsighted,” Owcharenko went on to point out that Canada, which has a federally run health care system, has a wait time to see a doctor that has climbed to 17 weeks. She suggested that it would be better to give parents “more resources” and “lower premiums” as incentives to get their kids to the doctor.