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Poverty in America
For millions around the world, the United States of America represents a land of opportunity in which anyone can achieve their dreams of prosperity. As a result, the U.S. has the highest immigration rate of any country in the world. While America still holds great appeal, the realities of life in the U.S. for both immigrants and natural born citizens display a stark contrast to the time-honored view of America’s street being “paved with gold”. With increasing numbers of Americans living in poverty, the once great nation is faced with the question of how this came to pass.
Poverty in America is not a new occurrence; in fact, it has always existed despite the affluent facade displayed to the world. Every society is composed of various classes of people ranging from the underprivileged to the aristocratic. The percentages of the population living within each of the class levels usually shows that a majority live within the middle to lower brackets, which is the station of the “working class”. The issue facing the U.S. is the more of the working class families are shifting into the underprivileged group and the disparity between the upper classes and the rest of population is increasing.
There are many factors to be considered when determining why poverty is becoming an epidemic in America and those applied depends upon the group being reviewed. Some common factors relate to education levels with those having better educational opportunities being the most likely to succeed. In the case of immigrants and minorities, the effects of racism and intolerance must be included as causes for individuals to be unable to escape poverty’s grip. The greatest factor, however, lies not in circumstances of the individual, but in the refusal of Americans to acknowledge and address the problem as a result of pride and greed.
One commonly cited cause for the increase in poverty is the number of jobs being outsourced to other countries. While this is a direct cause for those individuals who have become unemployed, the underlying issue is the dehumanization of business practices. When a corporation’s primary focus is to improve profits, the company will always seek to reduce operating costs. While this is a standard business concept, the reductions in payroll and human resources are often applied without considering the effect on the employees and in turn the overall economy. While the cuts provide the business, executives, and shareholders with significant profits, the workforce and general economy suffers resulting in the growing disparity between the classes.
Poverty is becoming an epidemic in America because of the refusal to acknowledge and address its existence. Americans insist upon placing blame on external causes for these economic issues rather than reviewing the actual circumstances that led to this situation. By changing our focus from individual, materialistic pursuits to more philanthropic endeavors, it is possible to rescue the country from the economic disease it suffers. The first step in this process, however, is to recognize the source and remember that people are more important than profits.