Research and Analysis on the Extent and Effects of Poverty on the Modern American Society.
First off, let us define poverty.
Poverty is the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.
Thank you, Dictionary.com.
With that said, how many people in today's American society are actually in poverty because of reasons beyond their control? Some of the people on welfare and unemployment checks are there because they want to be, not need to be. Taking advantage of social programs, these people, whom I shall refer to as "Class C", are corrupting the entire nation. They take money from the hardworking middle class of America, whom I shall label as "Class B", and blame their poverty on the wealthy high class, "Class A".
Now, why my class labels? For this. Class C takes from Class B and blames Class A for making Class B join Class C. Class A becomes smaller because all the people from Class B are falling to Class C instead of Class A. Because of that, Class A's representation is dwarfed in comparison to Class C. Why is this bad? It gives power to those who abuse the government. And those who abuse the system should not be allowed to further their own greedy motives.
Of course, on the the other side, Class A is not entirely innocent. Much of the high class feeds off the middle class to some extent. Let us look at some classic examples. Every major company in the world runs off a very simple economic equation. Revenue minus expenses equals profit, simple right? There's obviously more to it, but for our sanity's sake let us move on. In this basic economic equation, payroll fits under expenses. No surprise there, right? Because of this, companies will lower pay in order to lower expenses. This is due to the fact that employment is one of the easiest factors to manipulate in a business.
This causes the obvious, a smaller wage for the employee to live on. However, this is not true for the people at the top of the business. Their pay is, needless to say, ridiculously huge. But when it is all said and done, the workforce is pretty much divided between Class A and C. In that aspect, capitalism fails us.
However, in other areas, capitalism had done great deeds. It was capitalism which American society had thrived on for so many years. Capitalism brought up corporations and businesses to fuel the economy and boost employment. Capitalism pushed up the standards of living, it made America what it is today.(Oh, and so did democracy, let us not forget.)
There are some intellectuals out there who argue that The United States was just at the right place at the right time. Yes, we made a killing selling weapons to the Allied Powers during World War One. And yes, we did it again when World War Two came around. By that standpoint, America's major boosts in economy were triggered by war. (Hey, there's still that belief that we went to Iraq because of oil.)
Holy crap. I went severely off topic. Let us return to the issue at hand. Poverty.
Here's an interesting site: Statistically Proves That we are wasteful.
This was written back in 2004, and back then there was about 35 million people below the poverty line. That is about 12% of the entire Unites States population. So if we were to take an example, that means out of every 100 people, 12 lived in poverty conditions.
However, let us look at another interesting statistic this site provides for us. In the same year(2004), over 41 billion pounds of food were wasted. The average weight of a potato is about one pound. That means, figuratively speaking, 41 billion potatoes were wasted. That's a lot of freaking potatoes.
Another interesting statistic states that 15% of food bought is wasted. So if you spend $20 on groceries a week(saying if you're like me, I'm not an average but I'll use myself as an example anyway), that means you waste about $3. And according to the site, the average family tosses out $590 worth of food. And as a country, oh man, we throw away $43 billion in food.
So what's my point here. Those people living in poverty could have at least been fed. It's that simple. But why weren't they fed? Why was this food wasted? Oh, everyone knows why. It's our good friend Uncle Sam. Or slow-acting and never satisfying government, stuck in a perpetual battle between red and blue states. Sure, they have done some things over the years, raised our minimum wage, tax cuts, a few other changes here and there. But those were all in reaction to something. The minimum wage was raised to match the ever-growing inflation rate. The tax cuts, mostly to businesses. All those other things? Minor enough that I don't even know how they affected society(not at all saying that I'm an intellectual individual. Heck, look at this post. It's a freaking mess.)
But most importantly, our government does not seem the slightest bit worried of this poverty problem which strikes America at home. In fact, we're worried about Iraq and what their homes look like. Hey, I'm not saying we shouldn't be there. I would be there myself if I made a choice to go to military instead of college a year ago. I applaud the men and women who are serving there overseas. But that doesn't excuse America from the fact that we are turning a blind eye on our on problems at home. Let's face it, we're at a low here. 12% of our total population is suffering from poverty. It takes six months for anything to get done in Congress. Our education system blows. We have this immigration problem too. Our problems are nothing short of endless.
Before I propose how we fix this madness(Madness? THIS IS SPARTA! Sorry, couldn't resist), I am going to rant about poverty a little more. If you want to skip the blah-blah, just head on down to the next line break.
What I don't get about poverty is, how did we get here? Where did capitalism fail? When did democracy fail? Why do we have so many commentators and nobody to act? Why am I here? Sorry, that last question had nothing to do with this. Perhaps, I have an answer. It's quite simple. Everything complex in the world is made up of smaller, simpler things.
Outsourcing. We're giving jobs to China, India, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and I believe I saw a "Made in Pakistan" tag on one of my belongings somewhere. Capitalism at work, that simple equation I mentioned earlier is back. In order to reduce expenses, businesses look overseas for cheaper labor. We can thank Sam Walton for that splendid idea. Because of outsourcing, many hardworking employees lost their jobs to some guy overseas who's happy to make several cents an hour. While factories opened overseas, factories closed here in the United States. It's a downward spiral from there. People without jobs have no money, without money, consumers can't buy goods. When goods aren't bought, more businesses fail. And when more businesses fail, more people lose their jobs.
Okay, I'm tired and hungry(poverty? no.), so I'm going to end on this final note. What can be done about this crisis in America? What do I propose be done? I'm going to sound like an extremist for a moment and say this, we need drastic, radical government reformation. Our government, as it stands, is failing. Our two-party representative system has hindered our society from advancing as a whole. Between Red states and Blue states, what part of us is the "United States?" People need to start voting again, a democracy fails once the people just watch their government. There needs to be active participation, people need to raise their voices and be heard. Only then will the government know what the people want, and only then will the government do what the people want. Only then can we get past the Republicans and Democrats bickering at each other and get some real work done.
Thanks for reading, this was quite the long one. Hope you enjoyed it, and moreso, I hope it gets you thinking. Salaam.