Luke C. Michigan

Poverty in America

Many Americans live in poverty with the number fluctuating year by year, but the effects it leaves on families is embedded into their lives.

Dear Future President,

I would like to present an issue to you that I believe affects everyone. The issue is poverty and I believe it is a serious issue in this country that needs to be addressed. “In 2014, 46.7 million people (15 percent) were in poverty, including 15.5 million (21 percent) children under the age of 18. 48.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including more than 15 million children” ( This statistic is scary because it is affecting not only adults but children and families. I believe that is our job as americans and decent human beings to address this issue.

When it comes to the issue of poverty, people take different stances on it. Some of the most important stances are not on the existence of poverty but rather if we could end it or rather just control it. This question is being debated because poverty is the problem but when it comes to a solution people want to know if there is something to do to end it or if poverty is inevitable and should be just controlled. I believe that poverty cannot cease to exist, i believe it will always be there, now I believe it is the government’s job to help decrease its affects and try to do everything it can to help people out of poverty. However, for me poverty will always exist because for there to only be a middle class and a upper class is unheard of in the history of any civilization ever.

I believe in a few concrete ideas about poverty. This is that poverty isn’t necessarily a money issue, even though the definition is not having enough money to meet basic needs including food, clothing and shelter, I still believe that it’s the value of money is what makes living in America so costly. The cost of living (rent, food, gas, clothes etc) is why nobody can afford to live here. For me, poverty is very hard to measure because the definition of it is very open for interpretation.

There are many reasons why people are in poverty, these can also add to why poverty is incurable. For one, families in poverty are often times headed by one parent, many times a single mother, where many women are already paid less than men so it can be difficult to support a family. On top of this there has been a near disappearance of cash assistance for many of these families. This also leads into what gender and race have to do with poverty, “statistically whites constitute the largest among the poor, however the percent of minority populations in poverty is extremely high with African Americans being at 27.4% while 45.8 percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty, compared to 14.5 percent of white children” ( Race matters in poverty because measures to raise incomes and provide work supports will benefit whites more than minorities. Another major cause of poverty comes from the amount low-wage jobs, this affects America because it means that households don’t have a steady job to support their families and even singles or couples will have trouble too. What will help is based all the way into our education and skill development plus a full employment policy with an increase in good paying jobs in the economy. This is made worse by the demise of welfare which doesn’t give enough benefits for a family of three let alone four and the idea of being just above the poverty line means no benefits even though it isn’t enough for living in America. It is hard to get out of this because the rich will always be rich, and the power is in money and the money is in power and money for the rest of America isn’t always being contributed, also the fact that many of these cultural norms like single parenting in minorities is something that is hard to reverse or stop. However, raising the minimum wage, raising taxes on the rich, providing health care, etc. Another contributing factor is voting and the control the middle class has to help those in poverty with the voting control they hold. If most of the middle class leans towards voting in favor of the poor it can make a difference but if they side with the upper class it hurts the poor.

There are many reasons for poverty, which is hard to argue, however the idea that poverty will never cease to exist can be argued. Some believe poverty is already close to zero percent. This is in part due to how poverty is being measured and what initiatives are being taken to end it. Many say, in order to end poverty, the few things that need to be addressed are education, affordable healthcare, and things like food, housing, and financial systems. Steps in affordable health care are already being taken, plus pushes in education have been made for re-training, new industries and special programs. Also, to add to it better regulation has to be done within the government and on top of everything people need to educated on how they are being robbed or what they are doing wrong in regards to loans and what not.

In total, there isn’t much that can be done about poverty because it is embedded into the culture but it can be reduced and weakened which is a major help for all of those in poverty.

Avondale High School

AP Lang

Rick Kreinbring's 2016-17 AP Language and Composition students

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