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State of the Union

When the economy suffers a cold, children catch pneumonia.

Once, while swimming in the ocean, a large wave knocked over my daughter, who was five years old at the time.

The strong undertow held her underwater, dragged Erin toward shore, and then began to pull her out to sea. As she slid past me toward open water, I looked down and saw my little girls' eyes wide open looking back at me. I had the impression she was smiling. Adrenaline and instincts quickly engaged as I grabbed her tiny arm. I pulled her on my shoulder and in a shaky voice asked if she was okay. She said, and I will never forget these words, "I wasn't scared. I knew you were here."

Then I asked, "Can you see if Mommy is watching us?"

During those few moments when I could not see Erin, I felt intense fear. Combined with helplessness. Fortunately, I stood in a position to reach out and save my daughter from a peril she neither caused nor could do much about.

Growing numbers of today's children also face deteriorating conditions they neither caused nor can do much about. But we need ...

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