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Socioeconomic Discrimination in America

Updated on January 25, 2016

What is Socioeconomic Discrimination

Socioeconomic discrimination occurs when a person is not able to pay for food, health care, or housing even though the person is working a full time job. Low wage earners can work a 40 hour or longer work week and still do not have enough money to pay for basic needs due to high prices on goods and services. To make matters worse, the low income earner may have to pay fees to cash their pay checks or to pay their bills that cut into their resources even further.

There is enough money to go around to ensure everyone can afford the basics in life. However, the cost of housing, medical care, and food has sky rocketed to where in some cities, rents start at $1000 a month. For someone earning minimum wage, this means all or almost all of their money is going towards their rent which does not leave much left over for food and other expenses. Increasing the minimum wage will not help the situation any either because what is going to happen is the cost of everything will go up as well. Though there is one solution to this problem and that is for a price ceiling to be put into place on the top earners. By placing a price ceiling into place, then the top earners will not be able to increase their earnings while at the same time the earning difference between the top and bottom earners would decrease.

What has happened over the last several decades is price of goods have increased while wages, especially for the bottom earners, did not increase. This means the rich only became richer while the poor became poorer. This also had an impact on the middle class where fewer households are now in the middle class. As prices increased, fewer parents are now able to afford to pay for school supplies or school lunches for their children and a college education has a deeper impact on the finances of a lower socioeconomic student due to larger loans that the student had to take out in order to pay for their college education. Also, taxes and bank fees only make it harder for the lower level earners to pay off debt as well as pay for their basic needs.

To complicate matters even further, a household need is based upon only the cost of food, not the cost of other essentials such as the cost of housing, utilities, and medical costs. This means depending upon where a person is living, a single person could be faced with high rental and utility costs as well as medical costs related to a disability that cuts enough into their income where they have to make the choice between paying the bills or paying for a medication and still be told they do not qualify for any assistance because they earn "too much" money based upon the current and outdated poverty system that focuses only on the cost of bread. However, if you take the same income and apply it to a larger family, then the family may qualify for financial assistance due to the cost of food even though food is no longer the largest expense that any household faces. The current largest expense that a household is faced with is the cost of housing which does not change whether there is single individual is living in the house or a family of five is living in the house. This means a single person in the lower earning brackets is placed under a greater financial strain compared to a larger family due to the increase burden the individual is placed under for not qualifying for financial assistance while a larger family qualifies for financial assistance thus has more spending power then the single person.

Every job in America is important to our society from the farmer whom produces the food that we eat, the garbage collector that pick up trash, to the doctors whom perform life saving surgeries on patients. If the farmers stopped producing food for society, then the doctors would not be able to eat and have the energy to perform surgeries on patients. Also, if the trash collector or sewer treatment facility worker did not do their job then trash and sewage would build up on our streets resulting in a breeding ground for diseases that could result in a disease outbreak. In addition, everyone has the right to meeting their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. What is currently happening is the rich is hogging all of the country resources that society needs in order for the needs of the majority to be met. Even in a society where everyone had the same skill and education level, someone still would have to be a fast food worker, a plumber, or a trash collector. There is no reason for these people to suffer while the rich hog all of the money. Instead, steps should be taken to reduce socioeconomic discrimination by ensuring all people have an equal access to the basic needs of life while at the same time insuring the rich is not hogging all the wealth, more then what they could reasonable spend in a life time.

Another item that needs to be considered in order to ensure everyone's needs are being met is to redo how a person's need is calculated. General assumptions about where the poverty line is as well as socioeconomic status no longer works in our country. Even within the same state, there are variations between the costs of good and services in that the cost of housing is generally higher in urban areas compared to rural areas. Also, different utility companies charge different rates to their customers. A final item to consider is the disability, impairment, or medical status of an individual. Due to the nature of an illness or a disability, a person maybe faced with high medication costs or additional costs that the average person is not faced with. For example, someone with a physical disability may need assistance with a few household tasks or personal care tasks due to physical limitations. Thus, in order to ensure a person's needs are being met, the cost of housing, utilities, medications, additional costs associated to a disability or illness, and cost of food for the location in which the person lives needs to be determined along with how much they earn. Single people as well as single income households rely on one person whom bring in all of the income for the family which means they are responsible for everything. This also needs to be taken into consideration when determining the need base for assistance and also needs to replace the current system based upon the 1950s on the cost of food only. By ensuring everyone's needs are being met, ensuring equal wages for everyone, as well as not penalizing a person for being poor via bank fees and fees to cash a pay check, then socioeconomic discrimination can be eliminated.


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