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NY Times: Cost of children raised in poverty

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A summary of the article and link to the full text are provided below. New York Times

By Erik Eckholm
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 — Children who grow up poor cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses, according to a study released on Wednesday.

“The high cost of childhood poverty to the U.S. suggests that investing significant resources in poverty reduction might be more cost effective than we thought,” said Harry J. Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University and the Urban Institute and one of the four authors of the report.

Mr. Holzer was one of several poverty experts who testified Wednesday to the House Ways and Means Committee as the report was released. The new chairman of the panel, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, said the experts were appearing “not as bleeding hearts, but to calculate the costs of poverty to our economy and society.”

“We’re talking about saving money and making productive people in the age of globalization,” Mr. Rangel said in comments that seemed to reflect an awareness by Democratic lawmakers of the financial and political constraints they face.

The hearing was the first of many expected over the coming year intended to focus attention on the 37 million Americans who live below the official poverty line, defined as $19,350 a year for a family of four.