Priority or Afterthought? Children and the Federal Budget published by the Brookings Institution.
While federal expenditures on children have grown over the past four and a half decades with the rest of the federal budget, the share of domestic spending focused on children has fallen 23%, from 20.1% in 1960 to 15.4% in 2006. Children's programs are not structured to compete for scarce federal dollars. They do not grow with the economy or even inflation; whereas other programs are indexed to economic growth. By 2020, spending on children could dry up completely. If entitlement spending continues unchecked and all tax cuts are retained, spending on the non-child portions of Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, defense, foreign affairs, and interest on the debt could completely consume federal resources, leaving nothing available for children. Unlike programs for the elderly, most programs for children are not indexed to growth in the economy, or even inflation. They aren't structured to compete, and the competition is fierce.
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