Poverty is one of the most fundamental human problems not only in America but throughout the world. Many people live below the poverty line, and among these people, some older adults need constant support and medical care and children. There is undoubtedly a gap between the better off and the less well off in a healthy economic society. The problem begins when they cross the poverty line, they lack livelihoods, which leads to adverse consequences not only for themselves but also for the people around them. Poverty is said to be a cause of crime and psychological distress and a consequence of racial and ethnic inequality.
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Prosperity in a country where many problems lead to poverty requires government intervention and a massive number of support programs. This paper explains the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States, programs and systems to combat it, and government benefits to support families in distress. It presents two points of view on poverty – one defines poverty as a consequence of external factors. At the same time, the second looks for a problem within the mental attitudes of all people with low income.
Both approaches have their pros and cons, but either way, the problem needs to be addressed. Once it appeared, it now requires finding the primary source of the ailment of society and treating symptoms through social support. As the study shows, both social support and general policy do not show an adequate level of management of this problem. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the polar point of view, asserting the guilt of the poor people themselves in their problem. However, even this approach does not entirely justify the state.
The Current State of Welfare
In the United States, more than one trillion dollars are allocated for welfare. The industry includes various social security and Medicare programs (Daguerre, 38). Foundations are located both at the federal level and locally in the states. Government spending is disproportionate when considering the six most prominent social organizations, including help for families in need, food stamps, insurance benefits, housing assistance, tax credit, and Medicaid. Over the past twenty years, only Medicaid has seen positive dynamics of growth in government support and growth in successful assistance to those in need, while the level of funding for the rest of the programs fluctuates at the same level (Jones & MaCardy). National statistics are not as indicative as local statistics due to the fact that at the local level, issues of benefits and material assistance are regulated in their way.
The problem of illegal refugees exists in the United States and is quite old and urgent. However, they are not eligible to receive social security programs, and therefore do not affect the general background of government assistance. At the same time, people who legally receive such welfare benefits have minimal influence on policy and, as a result, on possible government programs. People dependent on social programs are also dependent on the Democratic Party, but research has shown that most of them do not vote due to a lack of time and attention (Amadeo). It can be concluded that the government relies only on statistics and on its own decisions in regulating social assistance, which is inherently wrong. A more open dialogue between the needy and the state would help improve social programs, identify their disadvantages and collect more information to prevent possible causes of social benefits: unemployment, poverty, and many more.
Schooling and Child Poverty
The high debt load of the population, irreplaceable debt obligations, and attempts to start their own business – all these factors can lead to poverty of a person or a family. Managing one’s funds is not studied in school, not studied in colleges and universities. According to the widespread opinion, no one, except entrepreneurs, can explain how to use money correctly, accumulate funds, and live to the best of their ability without crossing the border. Hence the massive problem of education of the American population, or rather its lack in financial management matters. This critical moment requires reforms in the educational system since this problem must be addressed from childhood.
It is explained that children are more susceptible to poverty than adults, which leads to the most damaging results. First of all, this is directly related to physical health, which can suffer from malnutrition, hunger, and the inability to rest. The openness of cafes and restaurants, and parks on the streets is available to a child from childhood, so the pressure due to the lack of sufficient and tasty food immediately affects the psyche. The child gets the impression of not belonging to a prosperous society, contributing to stratification, discrimination, and many other social ailments. Lack of opportunity and constant stress leads to the only possible way out – crimes that include theft, deception, and more (Caldwell). Moreover, these factors are cumulative and affect the whole society, not just the low-income family.
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Psychological problems of the child increase the exposure to the negative consequences of poverty. Social adaptation at school is impaired if there is a significant difference in welfare among students. Stress affects academic achievement, the absence of which is also a source of potential depression (Caldwell). Underperformance and lack of attendance usually directly contribute to such problems in higher education. These factors make it challenging to obtain it, which reduces the child’s chances of a good job, and therefore prolongs his poverty. As a consequence of already similar cases, this situation leads to alcohol, drugs, and other substances that destroy the body.
Thus, at each stage of education, a discipline is required for each child, and later for the student, which will not only help to create an idea of managing money and funds but also teach psychologically to overcome the problems associated with them. Here it is also necessary to instill ethical behavior in society, which should include respect for the interlocutor, regardless of his financial situation. Consequently, children will bring up the proper beginning of financial managers and law-abiding citizens who know the norms of behavior in society. Likely, future wealthy people will more often donate their income to charity and help fight poverty together.
Crime and Ethnic Inequality
Crime is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. What is primary will help to reveal the very primary source of crime, one way or another, associated with poverty. It has been proven that crime directly affects human well-being through thefts, robberies, and burglaries. However, absolutely all types of crime leave a psychological imprint on a person, which leads to depression, problems at work, and frustration (Eason 352). Moreover, the causes of the crime itself lie not only in the plane of problems caused by poverty. It also includes pressing issues of racism, and ethnic and structural inequality, which require their solution and affect crime and poverty.
Even though our time social opportunities and differences between various ethnic groups have diminished, the characteristics of society, including education, and health care, remain the problem of structural racism and discrimination. The inability to receive proper medical care directly affects the physical health of citizens, which in turn reduces the possibility of getting a job and keeping it. A problem intensifying in educational institutions is highlighted in art, rising on the political agenda, causing many people to march and riot. Given the current challenging COVID-19 environment, large crowds are spreading the virus and worsening health.
Analysis shows that racial differences in poverty and wealth tend to be significant. However, the performance gap has narrowed in recent decades (Iceland, 644). Among the factors highlighted were the availability of work or problems in educational structures and the structure of the family. Cultural factors also play a role in regulating the behavior of an individual in times of poverty. Low-income families raise their children, trying to prepare them for all the difficulties of impoverished life, but the main problem lies in the plane of government changes. Even legal immigrants have a very high threshold for social security, requiring, for example, ten years of work experience or military service behind their back (Haveman et al., 601). Although, in general, there is a positive trend in the fight against poverty in our time, the last leap was achieved in the 60s and 70s (Haveman et al. 632). The problem of poverty changes over time. Therefore, the government needs a response that will use modern technologies and approaches that consider each case’s cultural and local specifics.
Problems of Programs and Systems
The constant redistribution of financial resources between various social organizations can be dictated by pressing problems and ignorance of the optimal option—the question of what the poor deserve, which groups, and in what quantity is highly relevant. Misdistribution with signs of inequality can only fuel the already significant ethnic problems in the country. Poverty must be eradicated with the help of the state, and the fight against its root causes must be fought. However, since it has already been admitted, the state must also cope with its symptoms. Left unchecked, the problem of poverty can lead not only to demographic problems caused by poor health, crime, and the inability to feed a family, but also to economic ones, as an increasing number of the population will lose their purchasing power and, consequently, the profits of the public and private sectors of the economy will fall.
Periodic payments are not the only correct solution to the problem on the part of the state. These payments cannot fully cover all the necessary needs of a low-income family, which already encounters obstacles on the path of education, not to mention employment. Problems accumulate one after another, leading to the negative consequences described above: crimes, drug addiction, and many more. The best public policy should be one that looks for ways to support non-disabled families near the poverty line in ways that are consistent with long-standing American values, such as taking responsibility for their actions (Moffit 747). More opportunities for education and work will provide more employment opportunities for families, which will generally improve the allocation and management of human resources nationwide. By realizing the potential of every citizen, regardless of race or social status, the state will be able to focus more on global problems, reducing social security.
Another Source of the Problem
There is a different point of view on poverty, which puts not the state at the center of the problem, but the person himself. According to Robert Kiyosaki, poverty is more mental than federal and purely individual (MotivationHub). From childhood, poor parents raise their children attuned to poverty, leaving no room for possible changes. A child, starting to follow the philosophy of poverty, lives by attitudes that limit his opportunities and activities. Suggestions are negative, while for a person untouched by poverty, questions dictate actions.
The problem also extends to education, where teachers teach things that have not been practiced. Consequently, only a small number of people can teach a child how to handle money. This knowledge is necessary after each person gets rid of poverty within his mind. Restrictive attitudes simplify thinking, make it bone, and such thinking seeks easy answers. These easy answers include addiction to alcohol or drugs or looking for easy money in crime. However, when a person, knowing his own goal, asks a question, it opens up endless possibilities for solving this problem. The biggest challenge is for everyone to come to this for themselves.
According to Robert Kiyosaki, neither the state nor any other person should help the poor. It is necessary to eradicate this ailment mentally because there were many examples when a person broke out of poverty into a wealthy class of society, and sometimes even higher. Opportunities can be limited only physically. The rest of the boundaries lie in people’s heads (MotivationHub). However, it is not enough to eliminate the stereotypes imposed by the state, society, and family. Everybody needs to find his or her own calling and game, as Robert Kiyosaki says, and in this matter again, people have no better assistant than themselves.
Government policies include several social security programs that provide benefits to those in need who fight the symptoms of poverty. Its causes lie in the plane of education, upbringing, and other social and economic factors, which are complicated by complex interracial and ethnic relations in social structures. Financial illiteracy is also one of the most critical problems that could be solved by introducing new school disciplines. However, the incorrect application of this approach can only exacerbate the situation and increase the gap between children of different social conditions. Until there are proven approaches, the state will not agree to such radical changes.
Poverty is the cause of crime, drug use, mental illness, and stress. Many problems are laid in people from childhood. There is an opinion that education is to blame for poverty, the poor people themselves, who do not seek to get out of it, and not the state. This work shows that a complex set of social, political, and economic factors that dictate the current situation in the country is a consequence of both government deficiencies and the stereotypical thinking of the people themselves. The solution to the national problem is possible only through joint efforts. The share of correct decisions is embedded in each of the considered approaches, but the answer is not at the radical points of one or another approach. It includes a set of actions aimed at addressing both the consequences of poverty and its causes, including racial discrimination, and police brutality, and structural inequality, and problems in education.
Amadeo, Kimberley “U.S. Welfare Programs, the Myths vs. the Facts.” The Balance, 2021, Web.
Caldwell, Laura F. “Childhood Poverty, Living Below the Line.” American Psychological Association, 2014, Web.
Daguerre, Anne. “Policy Styles and Welfare Reform in Britain and the USA: The Conservative-led Coalition Government and the Obama Administration Compared.” Journal of Social Security Law, vol. 2, no. 3, 2020. Web.
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Eason, John M., et al. “13. Crime, Punishment, and Spatial Inequality.” Rural Poverty in the United States. Columbia University Press, 2017, pp. 349-377.
Haveman, Robert, et al. “The war on poverty: Measurement, trends, and policy.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 34, no. 3, 2015, pp. 593-638.
Iceland, John. “Racial and ethnic inequality in poverty and affluence, 1959–2015.” Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 38, no. 5, 2019, pp. 615-654. Web.
Jones, Jeffrey M. & Thomas MaCardy “Welfare.” The Library of Economics and Liberty, Web.
Moffitt, Robert A. “The deserving poor, the family, and the US welfare system.” Demography, vol. 52, no. 3, 2015, pp. 729-749.
“Robert Kiyosaki 2019.” YouTube, uploaded by MotivationHub.