3 April 2014
Poverty is a prevalent issue that many Americans face and it has been a serious problem over centuries. Every year there are people at risk of hunger. Combating poverty is not an easy task; there are many underlying issues that need to be addressed. Fortunately there are policies in place to assist with in decreasing the negative effects of poverty; however, some of the policies may cause people to become more dependent on government assistance. As a result it may cause a rise in taxes to support these policies and programs. Poverty is very common and widespread around the world. Unanswered questions that arise in regards to poverty are what can be done to resolve it, what are the causes of poverty, and is it possible to eliminate poverty entirely. Based on research and my personal experiences, government aid and housing are some resolutions to decrease poverty.
With the increase of unemployment in the United States, people find it difficult to make ends meet, so they rely heavily on unemployment benefits. Unemployment checks enable people to support their family and pay their monthly bills while they are seeking employment. My friend James has been working for Safeway for about eight years and got laid off with a wife and a two-year-old daughter to support. With the help of the unemployment check, he was able to provide for his family temporarily until he found a job where he was able to provide for his family permanently. Indeed in 2010, unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people above the poverty line—which is roughly $17, 300 for a family of three. A report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) gives some indication of what might lie ahead for people who exhaust their benefits (Kaufmann). There are some people who abuse unemployment benefits such that they collect the benefits, but are not actively looking for work. Unlike James, my friend Joe took advantage of the unemployment system by not seeking employment until the benefits expired. Joe was required to report to Employment Development Department (EDD) every two weeks to prove that he was seeking employment, which he was falsely reporting. Throughout the entire time he was on unemployment, he never attempted to look for a job. He lied on the form that EDD required him to submit. According to the state and federal unemployment insurance system has helped a lot of people in need, but it’s also allowed some ineligible recipients to fraudulently help themselves to the pocketbooks of businesses and taxpayers. States recorded some $7.7 billion dollars in improper unemployment insurance payments in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (Kittle). Joe is a perfect example of how unemployment benefits can be ineffective in providing the unemployed an incentive to receive income in which they were not required to earn.
Also, housing is another option to help stop poverty. With government programs...