Alex Stuenkel Michigan

The Struggle with Poverty

For the past eight years my dad has been a preschool teacher for kids with families in poverty. Truthfully I didn’t know what poverty was. So being a curious 3rd grader I asked and he responded with “Well, it’s when families don’t have a lot of money.” I later realized that what he said is just the surface. Poverty is so much more: You don’t have money and you can’t do much about it. Their jobs aren’t paying them enough to pay their bills and some people don’t even have a job. The U.S. has an unemployment rate of 4.9%. That is 15 million people who don’t have jobs. Poverty has been going on for decades and I want to help stop it. Since 2007, 3.5 million people have descended into poverty, which is 3.5 million more than there should be. You, Mr. President, need to address this issue because it is a real problem. Poverty is greatly affecting American lives and if we don't do something fast, millions more will descend into poverty.

Poverty is greatly affecting American lives today, because of what has happened in the past. Within the past century, Poverty has changed America a lot. Since the Great Depression millions of people have fallen below the poverty line. For many people it's because of losing a job that the family relies on to pay for basic things like food, shelter, and clothes. For others their job just doesn’t pay them enough money. Once those people don’t have the money they usually do one of two things.: 1) They can take a loan from the bank. (which causes debt and debt creates even more bills to pay) or 2) “You can also take money from your retirement fund which may see like a good idea at the time but once you get older you won’t have a lot of money to last through retirement.” (Commentary, Crying Poverty) Because of this, those families won’t be able to provide in the future because of what is happening in the present. This is a big reason that it is so hard to get out of poverty.

Poverty is greatly affecting American lives because of the amount of people with a low paying job or no job at all Over the last decade millions of families have fallen below the poverty line. “In 2005 the average family was $8,125 below the poverty line. The U.S. spend $62 billion on raising the 7.7 millions up to the line but there are still a lot more that would still be in poverty.” (Commentary, Crying Poverty) This means the U.S. is trying to help those families but just giving them money won’t always work. Therefore we need to help those families get above the poverty line without just giving them money.

While it’s easy to point out the issues of poverty, it is difficult to fix the issues and that’s where I want to help. Our 31st president, Herbert Hoover, was our president during the Great Depression. To lift those poor Americans out of poverty he wanted to create jobs to give those Americans a chance to earn money, not just get a hand out. I strongly believe that he succeeded in his task. “He build the Hoover Dam and provided 1.3 million homes with electricity and the dam could irrigate two million acres.” (, Hoover Dam) What Hoover did back in 1935 needs to happen today, in 2016, so that more don’t descend into poverty.

When the word poverty comes up many people want to avoid it and act like there isn’t a problem, but I hope you know, Mr. President, that there is a huge problem. The millions of families need you. After reading this I hope I have influenced you to address the issue of poverty and convinced you to make a difference. Now I’ll be able to answer my future kids questions about poverty but by then I hope this problem will be fixed with the help of you, Mr. President.