Poverty Essay, Research Paper
As our nation and the rest of the world continues into the new century and millenium, there are many problems that we will have to encounter. Among the many is the case of poverty. The word poverty in the common dictionary is defined as the state of being poor or lack of means providing material needs or comforts . But Poverty in America is not due to a lack of material resources. The United States, has for many years, been able to produce more than its people needs. Robert Adams, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, pointed out During and after World War II it was commonly said that we could feed the whole world. However, the large amount of goods available in the United States is produced by employing only part of the work force; Nancy Folbre warns in A Field Guide to the U.S. Economy, the unemployment rate, moves like a roller coaster , going up when economic growth slows, and back down again when the econimc growth increases, but overall the roller coaster has been heading up. However, unemployment is just one example of the several exponents that can cause poverty. New technolgies, economic growth, human welfare, corporate takeovers, government intervention in the labor market, and inadequate government assistance are some factors that can also lead to poverty. The issue of poverty also has its share of opposing viewpoints. In our media-intensive culture it is not difficult to find different opinions. As John Stuart Mill once said The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about by persons of every variety of opinion… . In this scenario, it is liberal versus conservative where the liberals believe poverty is not due to the idividuals own fault, rather the goverment s, whereas conservatives believe it is the idividuals fault.
To a liberal,the government s misleading, false poverty statistics cover up the problem of the working poor. They feel that poverty is underestimated. Some conservatives contend that the poverty line, which is the smallest amount of money needed to live adequateley, should be much higher than the figures delivered by the Census Bureau. They say , that the number of year round, full time American workers who live in poverty is actually three times what official census figures. The Bureau s false statistics hide the fact that many full time workers are actually living poverty. A liberal would say that hard work is no guarantee againts poverty. Millions of workers and their families resort to selling their blood, going without medicare, or depending on charity to make ends meet. This is why liberals feel the goverment should step. Because of governmental aid such as welfare, those in poverty can be jump started and motivated to build more savings because they had something to help them out each month. But without governmental assistance liberals maintain that the dream of being able to afford the neccesities of life and get ahead through hard work, is out of reach of an increasing number of Americans.
On the hand the conservatives share a much different point of view. To a conservative the majority of many people that are said to be poor are really well fed and well housed. They feel that poverty is overestimated. Robert Rector, a conservative author, points out that The Census Bureau provides the official estimates of the extent of the poverty in the United States. Most poor people hado have adequate food and shelter. In fact, he states, living conditions for America s poor are improving, and are already better than those of average families in other idustrialized countries and avverage families in America s past. Conservatives believe that those who claim to be poor and really aren t, are destroying America s welfare policy. The government is giving the help to the wrong people and they are forgetting the people who really need the money. With governmental assistance given to the just about anyone, poverty would increase beceause the poeple would get lazy while seeing that they don t have to work because their getting a check each month. Though the liberals might say it gives the poor a boost, conservatives believe it only digs them a deeper hole because they will depend on the government and they won t be able to survive.
My opinion on the issue of poverty is more towards the liberal side. I believe that people will want to work more for themselves if they just had something to start with. If I had nothing left to live on, I personally, would lose all hope and just give. But if I had something to keep me going I would want to work more to build on that. I also think that poverty is underestimated. I believe that the people setting the standard for the poverty line, should walk a mile in a poor man s shoes, to see how hard it is , and how frugal a life he lives, only to hear that to the Census Bureau he is fifty percent over the poverty line. I believe that most of the time, hard work won t necessarily get you out of poverty. You can work from dusk till dawn and still have not have enough in your pocket to put food on the table. And that s where I feel government intervention is key in getting people back on their feet.
Poverty, without a doubt, will continue to be one of the most biggest and most life threatening problems that our nation and the rest of the world will have to face as we enter into the 21st century. But how do we go about solving poverty? It is a question that many will ask themselves as they come across signs of it.