With most unskilled labor jobs in America paying no more that six or seven dollars an hour, there will never be an end to poverty. In all actuality, it doesn't matter is someone researches the subject for ten years, goes to college for ten more years to receive degrees in psychology, sociology, marketing and business, the simple truth to the matter is that there will never be an end to poverty. In the book, "We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare,"
Joel F. Handler explains that in the every changing world where rent, food, gas and groceries are constantly on the rise, and wages are relatively remaining the same, the possibility of ending poverty is, straight and to the point, nil. (Joel F. Handler "We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare," 143)
One of the reason it is so hard for a family to remain above the poverty level is because the wages offered by most of the companies out there for labor workers are barely enough to provide for the worker, much less a whole family. If a person can hardly support his or herself, then it is nearly impossible to support anyone else. Simple math proves this. For example, if a person makes eight dollars and hour, which is being generous, then that person would make $320 a week before taxes. That would be roughly $1,280 a month. The average rent in the United States is five hundred dollars a month, which only leaves $780. Then there is a forty-dollar water bill and a $150 electric bill, which brings the total down to $590. If the person working has one vehicle, there are two things to look at. If it is an older vehicle, then more that likely, it costs about eighty dollars a month for gas, because older vehicles never got very good gas mileage. If the insurance for the car only runs about two hundred dollars every six months, that averages out to thirty-five dollars a month, which is a total of $115 on vehicle expenses. If the person is driving a newer vehicle, then there is probably a car payment and higher insurance. Even though the gas might be a little less, it would still come out way more than having an older car, so having a newer car is out of the question. Therefore, taking off the $115 a month in vehicle expense, that would bring down the total of money left over to about $475. If the person goes to the grocery store and buys Raymond Noodles, at four for a dollar, and bought eight packages for each meal for his or herself, the spouse and the two children, (considering one package does not fill too many people up), that would be an average of six dollars a day for three meals, and about one hundred dollars a month after taxes on the food. That would leave $375 at the end of the month. That would be considered doing pretty well by most people. There is just one problem, however. The average person looses about fifteen percent of every paycheck to the U.S. Government and about three percent to the state government. Eighteen percent of $1,280 is about $230, which moves the total amount left down to $140. Some people would still consider this good. All the bills are paid, all of the food is bought for the month, and there is still $140 left!
Unfortunately, there are a couple of more problems for the worker now. The government is now allowing the insurance agents to charge what ever they want, so the insurance on the car just went from two hundred dollars every six months to five hundred, electricity companies have increase their wattage rates by fifteen percent, so the electric is now running about $170 a month. Winter is coming in so the two hundred gallon propane tank behind the house needs filling and the transmission just went out on the car. To top it off, the Raymond Noodles are now off sale and are up to two packages for a dollar instead of four for a dollar. Lucky for the worker, however, that there was $140 left from last month to cover the fifteen hundred dollars in extra expenses this month.
In Andrew Solomon's book, "Noonday Demon," he mentions that most people say that society should solve the problem of poverty. However, it is actually each family that has to try to solve the problem of poverty. The reason why is because most of the families in America would have to start providing more that enough for themselves if there is to be enough left over for the remaining families who cannot support themselves. Considering the majority of families cannot provide extra income for themselves, nor even enough for themselves, and considering those families are considered 'society,' then there is not way for them to put an end to poverty. They are already boarder lined themselves. (Andrew Solomon, June 2001, "The Noonday Demon," 187.)
Some people believe that curing people's depression will help cure poverty. Rebecca Blank, a labor economist at Northwestern University, wrote a book entitled "It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty," She mentions that some pilot studies are under way on the treatment of depression among the poor, and the results appear surprisingly consistent. She was given full access to subjects from several of these studies, some involved therapy, others medication, and others with a combination of the two. To her surprise, everyone she met felt that his or her group had improved during treatment. They felt better about their lives, and they lived better. Even when faced with insurmountable obstacles, they progressed, often fast and sometimes far. Repeatedly, as she spoke to more poor people who had been treated for depression, she heard stories of accomplishment. (Rebecca Blank, February, 1997, "
It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty," 54.)
Newly elected welfare Chief Wade Horn believes that marriage is the cure for poverty. This information comes from the WEEL journal. He wants to get into the 16.5 billion dollars set to the side for this country's financial security, otherwise known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, to promote marriage. The 16.5 billion dollars is already in jeopardy of being depleted and it is extended out very thin given the depth of poverty that America's poor families face. To put this into perspective, consider the 15 billion dollars Congress just handed to the airlines to help them in this time of need. Wade Horn wants to use an already tight purse to promote his individual belief instead of assisting America's families in their time of need. (Kate Kahan and Leandra Lipson, July 2000, WEEL Journal, "Working for Equality and Economic Liberation" 14)
Marriage is a constitutionally protected choice. The Supreme Court asserts that an individuals right to privacy regarding decisions to marry and reproduce as "one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival." Marriage promotion mandates supported by Wade Horn and others essentially coerce economically vulnerable individuals to trade in their fundamental right to privacy regarding marital decisions in exchange for receiving job and life skills training. Government programs should not have the power to invade parents' most fundamentally private decisions regarding marriage as a condition for receiving federal funds. The United States of America is a country, which prides itself on freedom. The freedoms of this country's citizens are being compromised within our own government in the form of public policy. Poverty is a known factor in domestic violence situations; required marriage will only worsen the current growing trend in battering. Marriage is a civil right. It is not a cure for poverty.
In Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickel and Dimed, she thought she would go out into the world to see why it was so hard to make it, and then write a book about it. As her book states on the front cover, she did not get by very good on small wages. She put a very good effort into it, however, and made some remarkable discoveries about what it was really like in the low-income part of the world. In one passage, she explained how she just walked out of a diner when the owner started yelling at her for not knowing the different types of plate specials. That is easy, considering that she knows that if something goes wrong, all she has to do is pick up the phone and she is back to her reality. However, for the millions of people who have to contain those jobs, they do not have that choice.(Barbara Ehrenreich, 2001, Nickel and Dimed, 48-49)
By reading her book, one could quickly decipher that there will never be a cure for poverty. If someone quits a job, then they suffer even more, and there is always a new person who has been suffering for a while that will…