The Problem of Poverty Research Paper

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Poverty in the U.S.

Poverty is a major variable in the lives of many people in the U.S. The median household income for families in the U.S. is $59,000 (Semega, Fontenot and Kollar)—yet 40.6 million people live in poverty in the U.S., or 12.7% of the population (Semega, Fontenot and Kollar). If poverty were a health issue it would be considered an epidemic. This paper will address the issue of poverty in the U.S. and explain how it is an injustice and how it affects higher education for young people.

Poverty is a socioeconomic issue that impacts everyone—not just the lives of families who directly suffer from it. When communities suffer from poverty, the rest of the world is impacted, too. Employers are impacted because the pool of educated individuals from which they will be able to select their talent shrinks, as most people who grow up in poverty suffer also from an achievement gap that stems from inequity in education (Balfanz and Byrnes; District of Columbia Public Schools). As a result, the larger economy suffers as well. Companies cannot grow as well as they might like because they do not have access to sufficient talent. When families grow up in poverty, the entire nation is limited, as a country is only as strong as its weakest members.

As Pogge points out, poverty is also an injustice. It is perpetuated as a part of the scheme concocted by the ruling class to separate the haves from the have-nots. The system of capitalism as it is today enables the wealthy to increase their wealth and leverage in huge amounts so as to buy up the assets of others and gain total control over industries. This plot is especially effective when interest rates are low, as they have been for a decade since the 2008 economic crisis. The ruling classes are able to perpetuate a system of inequality in this way by ensuring that the wealth of the top 1% of the country grows exorbitantly while the bottom 99% steadily sees their savings eroded, especially as the value of the dollar evaporates over time.

As a result of inequality, impoverished families and communities suffer.
They lack access to the best schools and to good health care. Their communities often suffer from problems of drugs and crime. Young people who grow up in poverty receive poorer education than those who grow up in well-to-do communities. The wealthy top 1% often receive government tax breaks and incentives to help them grow their wealth, while the bottom 99% merely get subsidies for health…

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…no parents at home if both are working. Kids are left without guidance and structure and so they are not incentivized to succeed in the real world through education.

Access to higher education becomes a real problem as a result. Young adults lack the skills needed to succeed at higher levels of education and they also lack the funds. Though student loans are available, they can be seen as very daunting especially if the young adult makes the mistake of getting a degree in a field that is currently not hiring. All that money spent on a degree ends up being a loss. Young people’s chances of breaking out of the system of socioeconomic inequality are virtually nil as a result of these injustices.

In conclusion, poverty is a problem that causes young people to have few opportunities. They grow up in communities where their schools lack funds to pay for good teachers. The students thus suffer from an achievement gap, which prevents them from succeeding and obtaining the skills needed to get ahead. College and higher education becomes closed off to them because they never develop the traits needed to succeed academically; instead they are just passed along and then left behind when the real world arrives. This problem affects everyone because a nation that….....

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Works Cited

Balfanz, Robert, and Vaughan Byrnes. \"Closing the mathematics achievement gap in high-poverty middle schools: Enablers and constraints.\" Journal of Education for Students Placed at risk 11.2 (2006): 143-159.

District of Columbia Public Schools. Excellence through equity, 2017. https://dcps.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-and-dc-public-schools-launch-excellence-through-equity-funding-26-million-all

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Poverty rate by race/ethnicity.” KFF, 2017. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22wrapups%22:%7B%22united-states%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

Pogge, Thomas. Freedom from poverty as a human right: who owes what to the very poor?. UNESCO, 2007.

Semega, Jessica; Kayla Fontenot and Melissa Kollar. “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016.” Census, 2017. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2017/demo/p60-259.html

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