Hard times increase hostility. But this time, the discontents may transcend eventual economic recovery. Technological advance and increased global competition, combined with failures in the education system, have caused a significant group of Americans without advanced education to face bleak economic futures. They confront the prospect of permanent unemployment or low-paying jobs at best. This economic decline of a significant portion of the population coincides with the immense accumulation of wealth by a few, creating a deep divide, with what many see as a corrupt government clearly on the side of big finance.
Although public sector investments in early learning programs are growing, access to such programs is uneven. Nationally representative data show that at age four, 55 percent of children whose mother is a high school dropout are in a preschool compared with 87 percent of their counterparts whose mother has a college degree. Even more important is that the quality of existing programs is often uneven. Nationally, just over one in three four-year-olds in a center-based care or education program is in a setting that would be rated as ‘high quality.’
Iraq’s energy wealth means that Iraq will be able to sustain its own forces. Afghanistan quite simply cannot afford the security forces it needs, even at a very minimal level. This means that if Afghanistan is to continue to maintain and develop its security forces, it will need continuing financial and security aid. The question is whether or not they will have that resourcing.