What is the cost of poverty?

Inter Press Service reports

More than 43 million children living in conflict-affected countries are not able to attend school, according to a new report released Tuesday by the International Save the Children Alliance, which called on donor countries and multilateral agencies to commit 5.8 billion dollars a year to address the problem.

Relatedly, CommonDreams.org carries this essay on universal health care in California and Gov. Schwartenegger’s unwillingness to sign it into law

You generally figure a thirteen point poll deficit will set a campaign looking to scare up a little excitement out on the hustings. So when California Senator Sheila Kuehl delivered Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides’ trailing campaign a hot issue, in the form of universal health insurance bill that has everything but a governor willing to sign it into law, a lot of people might have thought he’d grab at it. But so far he’s acted like it’s too hot an issue for him.

So, what’s more important to you: a system where the wealthy get wealthier hoarding their money, or establishing a floor underneath people which defines a set of guaranteed benefits? At some point, situations cause you to take a long hard look at a system of wealth distribution that allows some to have more money than they’ll ever need to live a fruitful life while others die from lack of basic needs (one of which I’d say is education). Thus, the question is one of values. Will there ever be a way to justify placing a metaphorical floor underneath people—a way of saying “You will not have less than this because it’s unethical and because society can’t afford to not give you a chance to benefit the rest of us with your wisdom”?