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Opinion Paper: Poverty In America

958 words - 4 pages

“More than 46 million Americans live in poverty.” The poverty line in Florida is currently 17.1 percent. The amount of poverty is at its highest since 1960. Does the United States have an obligation to help the poor? In America, we claim to be the land of the brave and the home of the free. But how many people in America are free from poverty? 49.7 million people in the United States are in poverty. In 2012, 49 million people weren’t sure if they were going to be able to buy food for themselves or for their families. This is incredibly distressing to hear. In America, which praises itself for being a world powerhouse, some people can’t afford to eat. The factors that affect poverty include government programs, unemployment, organizations helping the poor, and how poverty is calculated.
Some people say that the government simply gives out money to the poor, but this isn’t true at all. In order to get money from the government, you need to fill out an application and meet certain requirements. These can be loans or grants, however grants are harder to get. Of course, the government provides things like education, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, etc., but are these things going to help the poor get out of poverty? No. Is it going to help them live in a better environment? Not likely. Currently there are some very good ideas that could be incredibly helpful to the homeless or poverty-stricken. Utah has reduced their homelessness by seventy-eight percent since they decided that instead of putting the homeless in jail they could just give them homes. That’s right! Who knew that homelessness could be solved by giving people homes? In fact this actually saved Utah money from not having to spend the money on prisons to house the homeless. They saved five thousand dollars per person by doing this. Programs like this would be great if they spread to the rest of the United States or was even made a government program.
The unemployment rate in the United States in 2012 was 8.1 percent. However this doesn’t make up for the other 11 percent of the population. 3.6 million people in the U.S. make at or below the federal minimum wage level. This could definitely be the missing people in this percentage. You may be saying, “Wait does this mean that minimum wage doesn’t support the cost of living??” That’s exactly correct. The minimum federal wage of the United States is 7.25 dollars an hour. If one were to work around 40 hours a week for the whole year that person would make roughly 15,000 dollars without federal taxes, etc. The poverty threshold is 11,000 a year for one person. If this person were to...

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