The novel, “The Working Poor” by David K. Shipler gives us an inside look into the lives of the lower class and he explores exactly what it means to do hard, exhausting but honest work in America. The working poor are working people whose incomes fall below the poverty line. While poverty is often associated with joblessness, a significant proportion of the poor are actually employed. Shipler teaches us that just because you have finally become employed does not mean that most or all of your worries are over, often times they are increased. Largely because they are earning such low wages, the working poor face numerous obstacles that make it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job, save up money, and maintain a sense of self-worth. Shipler did an amazing job bringing light to the “forgotten America”.
Being at the bottom in the United States means to be the poorest and to have the lowest socioeconomic status, these people usually work minimum wage jobs or don’t work at all and live off of welfare. The culture of poverty thesis states that ‘Poverty is caused by shortcomings in the poor themselves (Oscar Lewis, Macionis, J. 2004)’. Many people feel this way, but some blame society, ‘Poverty is caused by society’s unequal distribution of wealth and lack of good jobs (William Julius William, Macionis, J. 2004). Most people in US are poor or have a very small income which sides more with society being the blame for all these people struggling to support themselves in today’s economy (Macionis, J. 2004, p. 277). The functional model in sociology focuses on the social structures of low-wages (Merton, as cited by Carnochan, S. 2013) which is what most people in poverty are stuck living off of due to lack of education and opportunity. Some people argue that to maintain low prices for goods and services poverty and low-wage work is important and needed for our economy (Gans, as cited by Carnochan, S. 2013). Some people may believe this is true, usually those in a better social position, but some people have an opposing opinion to the low pay of some workers. The conflict model explains this inequality of wages in the work world, it also brings to attention how people with and without power experience inequality. For example, CEO’s with lots of
The society is in such a way that it falls into categories of people who belong to different social classes and this creates a difference in the way individuals lead their lifestyle, and in the way individuals interact with each other. The working poor refer to a social group which develops as a result of the social inequalities which exist in the society. The population comprises of individuals who put a lot of effort in their activities but still fail to witness growth and development in their socio-economic being. It is normally wrong to categorize such persons as being lazy, and instead, one may argue that nature dictates the fate of these beings.
With all of the media 's hatred of poor people, it must affect their self-confidence and how they view the American Dream. Through her experience, Jennifer Mayer has noticed that very problem. While working in the soup kitchen, she noticed that most of the people who came in lived in "survival mode" and only lived "day-to-day" with no real goals. They had no dreams of success because they believed it to be impossible (Mayer). One reason for this self-esteem issue is their lack of education. Since poor people rarely have a college education, they feel like they have no future. This can often cause them to give up on their dreams and resort to crime (Reef 225-226). Also, because poor people are below America 's social and economic system, they will often give up on their dreams.
There is also a major case of gentrification, where suburban Americans are moving to urban neighborhoods raising the process of living and resulting in the Americans living in those neighborhoods to have to move to the suburbs. Resulting in the suburbs now facing poverty and lacking the resources to aid the people who are moving there, like public transportation. There has been a frequent amount of progress to help the working poor, however, there has been no improvement because it is nowhere near what is actually needed. A major point which was made in the movie was that once you are working, you no longer qualify for assistance because you would now be making too much. Many of the working poor have incomes right at the poverty level and because of that they do not qualify. It is a major problem, because these individuals are just making enough to get by and not to actual “live comfortably”. Overall the film explains, because of Americans not believing in the seriousness of poverty or the ones affected by it there has been no major moves to improve it resulting in poverty rates only getting higher over the
It is not shocking to hear that tens of millions of Americans are living in poverty. Startling statistics about the poor are constantly being tossed around on television with images of run-down neighborhoods and malnourished children. The real surprise, however, is that millions of those in poverty are full-time, minimum wage earning workers. Many say one should feel morally obligated to help these people. President Barack Obama said it best in his February 2013 State of the Union address, “Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live
The article “Can Working Family Work in America?” by Stephanie Coontz is about the issues that American working families face. The author discusses on the inequality that working families face in jobs including low to no benefits for workers including elders, unpaid leave, and vacations days. The author also shares solutions that can help fix the working family crisis and she seems to be knowledgeable about the topic and solutions that she is discussing.
In America, millions of people are affected by poverty. High-class members of America and companies take advantage of these lower class individuals. Lower class individuals who are able to find a job usually work for less than minimum wage and experience poor working conditions. These lower class workers do not deserve the lifestyle they must deal with. Low class individuals not only have to struggle with finding employment but also have to worry about the U.S. government mistreating them. Whether someone is a low class immigrant or U.S. born citizen, it is evident people in America treat their lower class citizens poorly.
In the United States alone, the amount of people in poverty is 14.5%. That equates to 45.3 million people in 2013. In a country like America, one of the world’s superpowers, it’s embarrassing to admit. But the main issue is to fix issues like these with the minimum wage and welfare. The minimum wage applies to workers who got a job whether because they were in school or because they had not gone to college and had no other option. Most of the country lives off as minimum wage workers as only 1% of the world’s population has a college degree. Minimum wage needs to be adjusted to modern inflation. But the minimum wage allegedly does not affect poverty at all says a large demographic and does not need to be adjusted. The minimum wage makes up a lot of the country and should be adjusted or modified to today’s standard of living.
When wealthy people look at the world around them and where they are at in their financial situations they often feel a sense of power and feel in control of their future and lives. Unlike the wealthy when the poor look their financial situation they are overcome with feelings of defeat and uncertainty about the future. Which is a feeling that many like Madonna Harris, Jenifer Hernandez, and Martha Johnson experienced. These women and their families experienced the bottom of the social class which is the underclass that consists of individuals with next to no chance of ever leaving this class. Those who belong to this class have little or no connection with the job market but those who are lucky enough to get a job are only offered low paying or temporary work. Government funded programs like SNAP, Welfare and WIC are designed to help those in need but people who apply for them are often turned away because of the specific criteria that must be met which. If they are accepted they are or are not supplemented enough to maintain an apartment, afford food, and utilities as well as everyday living
Liberals and progressives dispute the notion that individual behavior compels poverty but claim instead that external forces in our economy are the main cause of poverty. Their notion argues that poor people in difference to non-poor don’t receive the same opportunities for education, employment, and job training. (Cochran, 229) Poverty is also directly the result of “a capitalist, free-enterprise economy where the pay for less-skilled jobs falls so low that even some full-time workers do not make a wage enough to keep their families out of poverty.” (Cochran, 230) On top of that, liberals believe that there is an existence of racial discrimination against minority groups and women. As a result of that these groups are affected in school, employment choices, job
African Americans have come a long way in the last few decades. We have more rights, more opportunities to grow and prosper and more independence than ever before. But the same cannot be said for African American families as a whole. The African American family and community is in trouble (Tilove, 2005). These families are facing many issues today that are contributing to their break down. These factors include poverty, diminishing health, welfare, incarceration, the struggle to find housing and the challenges involved with providing children with higher education. The disintegration of families have gone on for too long and it’s time we do something about it (“Current Challenges”, n.d.).
Within this course, there were issues or information from the course that most surprised, intrigued, or elicited emotion (positive or negative) in me. There were many topics that I already knew about but needed to refresh my memory and many that were new information to me.
Even though having the “poor class” is a necessary evil needed for society to function, most Americans, at some point in time, will experience what it is like to live in poverty or live below the poverty line. One main reason for having a high percentage of people living in poverty is because the U.S. policy makers have ignored the poor and have given tax breaks to those with a much higher income. Funding for welfare was slashed and extended unemployment benefits were ended. With little success with the economic reform the United States has been going through for the past five years, about 14.5 percent of Americans are still living under the poverty line.
The pinpoint cause of poverty is challenging to find. People who live well off and are above the poverty line may be quick to assume that laziness, addiction, and the typical stereotypes are the causes of poverty. Barbara Ehrenreich, a well known writer on social issues, brings attention to the stereotypical ideology at her time, that “poverty was caused, not by low wages or a lack of jobs, but by bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles” (17). Ehrenreich is emphasizing the fact that statements like the one listed, often influence readers to paint inaccurate mental pictures of poverty that continue to shine light on the ideology of stereotypes being the pinpoint cause to poverty. However, there are many other causes that are often overshadowed, leaving some individuals to believe that poverty was wrongfully placed upon them. Examples would include: high rates of unemployment, low paying jobs, race, and health complications. Which are all out of one’s ability to control. There is no control over a lack of jobs and high rates of unemployment, nor the amount of inadequate wages the working poor receive. Greg Kaufmann, an advisor for the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Half in Ten campaign, complicates matters further when he writes, “Jobs in the U.S. [were] paying less than $34,000 a year: 50 percent. Jobs in the U.S. [were] paying below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually: 25 percent” (33). Acknowledging Kaufmann’s fact, the amount received for a family of four is fairly close to the yearly salary of a high school graduate, which means, receiving that kind of pay for one man may seem challenging, now imagine caring for the needs of four individuals. To make matters worse, certain families receive that amount of money and carry the burden of paying for