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Essay: Poverty in the USA

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  • Subject area(s): Sociology essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 30 September 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 1,172 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 5 (approx)

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Poverty in the USA is an increasing problem. In 2012, 46,5 million people lived in poverty in the USA . The poverty rate was for 2012, 15%. Isn’t that frightening? 15% would mean that nearly every seventh person would live in poverty. I tried to think about that in my circle of friends. Lets us just say that I have 15 very good friends and I knew that 15% of the population lived in poverty. How many of my friends would then live in poverty? I have calculated it to 2 friends. That’s the essence of a scary thought, which is normal in the US. (Just to set it in a different perspective).
I’ve seen a clip from CBS on YouTube , which shows a middle class family with a ‘good’ income, but when the man in the house looses his job, they are facing the growing edge of poverty. Even the children are attentive about it. Sometimes they are getting soup a whole week! That must be awful. Not just because I hate soup, but there is no doubt about that it’s not healthy, and I’m sure that the children would like a nice red beef with a lot of sauce and mashed potatoes instead of soup. Another clip from CBS on YouTube shows an older couple, which have retired and now after several failures with stocks, and a few visits at the hospital, they are also facing the growing edge of poverty. Just like a lot of other Americans.
The number of people living in poverty in 2012 is the largest number seen in 54 years, which poverty estimates have been published. Families can’t afford food to feed their families, and it seems like the only welfare benefits they are using to get ‘food on the table’ is food stamps, and they are certainly not the only one who is using them. Actually 14,7% of those 15% in poverty do use food stamps. I can’t even think about how many food stamps they are giving away. Is there not a better way to distribute welfare benefits than food stamps? How can the US improve their welfare system, so that people can get away from this edge of poverty? Is there a solution to this problem at all?
Children and school students in poverty
It’s really frightening to read that nearly half of the US states children live in poverty. If you want to see this kind of poverty, just visit a local public school and find out how many of those students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. As this report short and correctly says: ‘Want to know the real state of US economy? Just visit a local public school’. A new report from the Southern Education Foundation found that 51% are the number of children who qualify for the free or reduced-price lunches, and that is the highest number in 50 Years. In 2013 did more than half of the students attending a public school live in poverty. I find that so frightening! In other numbers did 14.7 million children live in poverty in 2013, and if you take a point of reference to 2012, you’ll see that the numbers have dropped, but 14.7 million children! That’s many.
Why is there poverty and how could we fix it?
It’s hard to generalise why there is poverty, but major problems such as unemployment, wage, how big your family are, welfare system and several other things play a part, or should the poor people blame themselves for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made bad decisions and been solely responsible for their plight? I think that one of the main reasons that people are poor in the US, is because of the welfare system and how they are delegate the money in it. People are paying a lot to got to the doctor, they are paying a considerably little amount in taxes and that should give them a bit ‘space’, but the government are delegating the money in a lot of sectors that doesn’t influence the poor people. How should this be prevented?
A lot of people have written big articles about how to improve the welfare system in the US, but there aren’t any perceptible results. If I should try to find a solution to this it would be very difficult, because I don’t have that much acquaintance to the Americans or their economy and stuff like that. However, I’ve found an interesting article with a great solution that I can relate to. They find the main problem logistical. The current US welfare system takes in trillions of dollars, and those trillions of dollars provide fairly little utility on a dollar for dollar basis. There’s dissatisfaction on both sides of the political. The liberals complain about all the expensive drug tests required to collect welfare checks, for example, and the conservatives whine about ‘welfare queens’. The solution I find so good is pretty simple. A guaranteed subsidy to everyone. It might sound a bit radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal are suggesting this. Just a ‘simple’ cash subsidy, which should be about $15.000 per year (the same amount an average retiree gets from Social Security). Those $15.000 should give the poor and middle class a financial floor, they could liv on. For me it makes financial sense, because in 2012, the federal government spent $786 billion on Social Security and $94 billion on unemployment, and then add $1 trillion on welfare of the food stamps.
Adding all that together gives $1,88 trillion. According to the US Census Burea, there are about 115.227.000 households in the US and if you split those $1,88 trillion among all these households. They will each get $16.315,62. If they would use this method, they will even get black numbers on the balance sheet. There is off course some households that makes a lot of money in the US, but if they made a limit for those households that made over $100.000 per year, and cut them out of the equation it could give each household even more. For me it sounds to good to be true, but in the principle could it ‘fix’ poverty, but it could also be abused. People could stop working to get these nice basic income checks, and it could ruin a whole economy. However, I found this research really useful, and I hope it will be able to get people away from the poverty edge.
Comment on the way Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” is used as background music for the video ‘Poverty in the U.S.A.’
Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party in the U.S.A’ is used as a complete parody of the real picture in the US. There is no party in the U.S.A. The ‘producer’ of this video is trying to make a sarcastic picture of the real U.S.A, where people are living on the streets and collecting food stamps just to get something to eat. It’s a big societally problem that needs to be chanced to the better. Immediately.

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