The warnings are getting more dire in Washington the closer the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" approaches without a plan to avoid it. If America goes off the cliff, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will go into effect at the end of the year, along with a tax hike.
Thursday night, House Speaker John Boehner posted a photo to Speaker.gov of President Barack Obama surrounded by happy young children with the headline: "Don't worry, kids—I put it on your tab." Each child in the photo has a $51,986 caption hovering near their head—the amount Boehner's office estimates is each American's individual share of the $16 trillion national debt.
"Washington's spending problem threatens our future, and President Obama's fiscal cliff plan doesn't even begin to solve it," Boehner's office wrote.
The time stamp on the posting shows it was made just hours after the Ohio Republican congressman emerged from another unsuccessful talk with Obama on how to avoid the fiscal cliff, which would cost an average median-income family about $2,000 extra in taxes a year.
The White House has used that number to sound the alarm on how the fiscal cliff could hurt children, too. Using the phrase My2k, Obama encouraged people across the country to share what $2,000 means to them. Responses have included payment for child care and savings for a child's college education.
Boehner and Obama aren't the only ones concerned about how the fiscal cliff could hurt kids. The Center for the Next Generation, a nonprofit child advocacy organization, has warned of the 8.4 percent cut to federal programs if we go over the cliff, particularly in childhood education.
The federal program Head Start, which supports preschool children from low-income families, stands to lose $2.7 billion over 10 years, according to the Huffington Post. This translates to a loss in slots for about 100,000 children.