Morethan three-quarters of the world population cannot reliably meettheir basic needs. Real poverty is when individuals struggle toaccess clean water, safe shelter, adequate nutrition, basicsanitation and basic health care. Many more people die as a result ofextreme poverty daily. In America alone, approximately 46 millionindividuals live in poverty. The affluent are of the opinion that thepoor are at fault for extreme poverty. Is this true? Are the poorresponsible for their own poverty?
Somepeople view poverty in America as an artificial creation of theso-called neoliberal economic policies. These types of policieseliminate fiscal and business regulations, cut taxes for the rich andwear down the stability of the middle-class all in the name ofself-reliance and individual responsibility. As a result ofunrestrained free markets, wealth is concentrated at the top with therich becoming richer, while the poor continue to become poorer. Inlight of this information, regardless of an individual’s behaviorand attitudes the economic and social conditions remain the maincause of poverty. For instance, high level of unemployment in poorcommunities make people have little exposure to the job market, thusmay be ill-prepared to take up advantages of economic opportunitiesin the future. They see it as a social justice issue and lack ofeducation opportunity. In this case, the society is at fault formaking people poor since they have to live with the neoliberals’consequences (Haveman,2008).
Onthe other hand, the culture of poverty theory presumes thatindividuals from poor families hold certain cultural attitudes thathinder their economic success. They view poverty related to lazinessand lack of family planning. These attitudes are passed from onegeneration to the other. In this case, the poor can be said toresponsible for their own poverty.
Alternatively,the rich society believes that they deserve their wealth whiledemeaning the poor people as the laziest. They believe in thepossibility of starting poor and becoming wealthy with hard work. Onthe contrary, evidence shows that almost 70% of the poor are workingindividuals who have to fight hard to survive. To a large extent,maybe the poor continue to remain poor because they lack power. Onthe other hand, they lack power because of their poverty. This meansthere is a need to eliminate poverty and boost prosperity. Therefore,in the spirit of solidarity, stakeholders from different sectorsshould collaborate to make a real and lasting solution to end povertyin the United States (Haveman,2008).
Thegovernment is called upon to work with the public, private andvoluntary sector to bring about changes in the society. This ispossible with the right public policies that enhance social mobilitywhere it provide the poor families and individuals, especially thosewith multiple disadvantages with tools and support crucial to turningtheir lives around. One way the government can do this is byimproving family stability by providing a safe, stable environmentwhere parents can nurture their children well. Social mobilityimprovement can foster every citizen to achieve their fullestpotential (Danziger & Cancian, 2009).
Withouta doubt, poverty accounts for most crimes and negative conflictsglobally. The government is called upon to create more jobs in a bidto end poverty is America. The federal governments should implementjob-creation strategies such as infrastructure rebuilding, renovationof abandoned housing, development of renewable energy sources amongothers to kick-start job growth. Training-for jobs-programs is afavorable way the government can make an agreement with the potentialinvestors to provide training for workers in return for job creation.This program is significant and comes with workforce upgrading.Nevertheless, the economy is pushed in the direction of creating moreskilled jobs. The government should be encouraging greaterinvestment from industries. Meanwhile, other proven models ofsubsidies employment can also be utilized to help people who havebeen unemployed for long, as well as other disadvantages workers tofind their way back to the labor force (Rainwater & Smeeding,2003).
Thegovernment is called upon to take steps that reduce wealth inequalityin the country. Unfortunately, many of the poor people in the countrywork but still struggle hard due to low income. Thus, raising theminimum wage is another way the government will be helping poorfamilies out of poverty. It should close the gender wage gap sincemost families, and working women experience inequality anddiscriminatory salary practices. Studies demonstrate thatstrengthening collective bargaining rights and unions is a way toincrease wages across the nation (Rainwater & Smeeding, 2003).
Besides,building assets for working families through policies that encourageincreased saving rate is a way the government will help thestruggling families with economic security. New programs that providea saving scheme for low-income families could help them build wealth.The government is therefore urged to make it easier for the poorfamilies to access fair low-cost financial services and homeownership plans (Danziger & Cancian, 2009).
Educationis said to be the key to success. Education to the poor will trulyopen doors to new opportunities, and this will help to elevate theminto the middle class. However, to accomplish this, it must work atevery level to succeed. For example, children should acquire qualityearly childhood education. More effort should be placed on improvingeducation, teacher quality and access to valuable services andprograms. The poor should be able to access higher education and itextreme cases, perhaps providing scholarship programs will makeeducation more affordable to every citizen. Furthermore, thegovernment should address segregation between schools and make theschooling system highly equitable (Rainwater & Smeeding, 2003).
Additionally,the government should invest in affordable high quality child care,as well as early education. It should be offering childcare help tolow-income employees to enable them to work effectively. Withsufficient structures such as boost investments in preschool and thiswill also help improve the future economic mobility. Finally, thegovernment is also called upon to strengthen existing programs suchas food stamps, the earned income tax credit, unemployment insurance,along with other new initiatives to guaranteed income to everyAmerican. It should tackle segregation and concentrated poverty,especially of the blacks and Latinos who have been shut to isolationand exclude poor communities (Danziger & Cancian, 2009).
Inconclusion, it is possible to eliminate poverty in America. Whetherthe poor is responsible for their own poverty or not, the governmentis called upon to enact policies that focus on sustained economicgrowth, reduce employment, increase benefits to poor families,increase the national minimum wage and expand opportunities to growthe middle class.
Danziger,S., & Cancian, M. (2009). Changingpoverty, changing policies.New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Haveman,R. H. (2008). Whatdoes it mean to be poor in a rich society?.Universityof Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty.
Rainwater,L., & Smeeding, T. M. (2003). Poorkids in a rich country: America`s children in comparativeperspective.New York, NY: Russell Sage.