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Argumentative Essay on Poverty

3 pages
722 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
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Each year, an outstanding amount of money is given by the US government as help to the people who live in poverty. Living in poverty does not necessarily mean that a person is lazy, no; it means that although the person is working, his or her income is not enough to sustain the individual and his/ her family. This help comes in many forms. We have, for example, educational grants, insurance and cash benefits for the disabled and Medicare grants. The good thing about these grants is that they are free and the government does not require to be paid back. Critiques of government grants argue that while assisting the poor is a good thing, the definition of poverty should be reconsidered. The person receiving this aid must be living in abject poverty; a citizen who has no other option but the government aid. Anybody can claim for help, but it should be given to the truly poor who cannot help themselves for one reason or the other. My paper aims at discussing why The United States of America should provide more support to the people who are living in poverty.

To begin with, the minimum wage is not common amongst all workers. Among workers who are paid below the minimum wage include, full-time students, workers living with disabilities and student apprentices. Workers below the age of twenty years also paid less than the minimum wage for the initial three months. Employees in the restaurant industry also fall into this category. Minimum wage workers in the united states do not get health-cover and benefits like sick time hence the salary that they receive is not enough for them and their families. It is also not possible for them to afford housing while their salary is at minimum wage because guidelines from the federal policy state that thirty percent of a persons income should be channeled towards rent. This means that the minimum wage employee is supposed to find an apartment for $377 per month while an average two-bedroom apartment goes for $928 which is already a discounted rate. That is why it is advisable that the government should continue offering help for this category of employees.

Secondly, due to the recent high cost of living and housing, in particular, it has proven a hard task for the poor and the lower middle class to afford housing. Homelessness has continued to increase because the salaries earned by the workers have been static over the years. To some it is even worse; the income has declined.

There has been an overall growth in income, but virtually all income growth has gone to the highest-earning fifth of the population, with the biggest gains flowing to the richest 1 percent. For the bottom 60 percent of the population, real wages, the actual spending power of peoples paychecks, have stagnated or fallen( Collins & Felice).

The value of homes and the cost of rent have gone up. The population has continued to grow, but housing has not been made affordable to accommodate everyone. A person with a median income would be required to use more than half of his salary to afford to pay rent in an averagely priced apartment.

Lastly, The U.S is ranked lowest of health statistics in comparison with other nations of its caliber when it comes to infant mortality and life expectancy. Sick leave is an uncommon benefit to the employee living in poverty (DeNavas-Walt). The US Department of Labor discovered that only an approximate of 25% of the low wage earners has a healthcare cover, the rest depend on Medicare grants from the government.

To wrap it up, America has over the decades been seen as the land of opportunities for greener pastures and a government that helps its citizens living in poverty. The truth is, in comparison to other industrialized countries in the west, America spends the least to help its poor citizens and is among the states leading in poverty rates. Almost half of the American population will experience poverty once in their lifetime, and that is why the government should provide more support to the people who are in poverty.

Collins, Chuck, and Felice Yeskel. Economic apartheid in America: A primer on economic inequality & insecurity. The New Press, 2011.

DeNavas-Walt, Carmen. Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States (2005). Diane Publishing, 2010.

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