Oh, Give the Kids a Break Already

The CDC’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey is out, and as you already know, the kids are alright these days. But there’s always something, isn’t there? The Washington Post uses the CDC report as a hook to tell us that risky teen behavior is down across the board except for one thing: they aren’t eating their veggies:

Do kids ever get a break from our nation’s news media? Apparently not. The Post kinda sorta plays this for laughs, but they also take it seriously enough to lie with statistics, informing us that since 1999 there’s been a 71 percent increase in the share of kids who don’t eat vegetables.

This is technically true, but check out the scales on the Post’s charts. Most of them go from zero to about 40 percent—except for the veggie chart, which goes from zero to 5 percent. I have helpfully redrawn their graphic to put everything on approximately the same scale:

The veggie line has barely moved.  But I guess that doesn’t make for a very good story. The kids may be alright, but I sure have my doubts about the adults these days.

Anyway, while we’re on the subject I might as well point out that in addition to all the stuff the Post mentions, teen arrest rates are down, pregnancy rates are down, drunk driving is down, math and reading scores are up, graduation rates are up, and college attendance is up. Given all this, I recommend that we switch to a Logan’s Run sort of society except that instead of killing people at age 30 we just take away their right to vote.¹ Let’s give the vote to everyone aged 21-30 and see how they do. It can’t be an awful lot worse than what we have now.

¹But not to hold office. Only 20-somethings can vote, but they can vote for any old fogey they want to.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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