Unit

TheEffects of Child Poverty

Child poverty is a very sensitive issue politically, socially, andeconomically. Although the ed States is a middle-income countrywith a median household income of $51,759 in 2012, the country stillhas a significant portion of the population living in poverty, 15.1percent (46.2 million) as of 2010. A good number of this populationcomprises of children living in underprivileged families. Ideally, ahousehold of four is living in poverty if the total earnings fallbelow $22,050 annually. While many Americas are in hot pursuit of theAmerican dream, there are others who are only trying to put food onthe table and meet the basic needs. The fact that children aredependent on others makes them very vulnerable to poverty. Povertyamong children has been linked to some adverse social, physical, andbehavioral outcomes. The paper looks at the prevalence of childhoodpoverty in America and its effects on these innocent individuals andthe larger society with the intention of using such knowledge toinform policymakers.

First and foremost,it is important to understand the prevalence of child poverty in theUS. Ideally, the figures have been changing with economicfluctuations. During the 2008 financial crisis, the resultantunemployment levels rendered many adults jobless leading to anincrease in household and child poverty. Social and demographicfactors such as ethnicity, family structure, neighborhood, educationlevels of parents, etc. influence the likelihood and prevalence ofchildhood poverty. Both federal and state governments have initiateda broad range of programs designed to fight childhood poverty. Someof these programs address the causes while others seek to address thesymptoms. Besides, private and nonprofit organizations have tried toaddress the issue. For instance, DC Central Kitchen initiated aprogram that pays better wages to allow parents to provide better fortheir children. Such programs target various neighborhoods that arepredominantly associated with low-income earners. Despite suchefforts, child poverty persists, and it cannot be wished away butrather tackled strategically to avoid some adverse effects asdiscussed next.

Empirical observations and scientific research have shown thatchildren from poorer backgrounds lag at all stages of education.While school feeding programs seek to address hunger matters atschool, these children may not be guaranteed of a decent meal athome. Thus, these kids lack the necessary balanced diet to help themperform optimally both cognitively and physically. Surveys acrossAmerica and other OECD countries have revealed that on average,elementary school children from poor backgrounds are estimated to be,on average, nine months behind in development compared to childrenfrom more wealthy backgrounds. A study by Hair and colleagues pointout that children from poor backgrounds scored 4 to 7 points lower onstandardized tests and showed delayed development of the frontallobe, temporal lobe, and hippocampus areas of the brain (825). At theage of around 14, the difference is about five terms. By age 16, thedifference is more pronounced academically with children from poorbackgrounds recording lower GPAs. Therefore, childhood poverty allowscyclical poverty to occur because the capacity of education as ameans of escape from poverty is diminished.

From a health perspective, children from low-income families are morelikely to die at birth or in infancy than children born into richerfamilies. This is directly linked to the mother`s access to a betternutrition during the pregnancy, quality of prenatal care, educationstandard of the parents, and access to quality postnatal care. Formany of the unemployed and impoverished Americans who cannot affordhealth insurance, they tend to pay for medical services out of thepocket (Poverty in the ed States). Such arrangements arestrenuous on their health and financial wellbeing. Furthermore,mothers may experience nutritional deficiencies during and afterbirth that affects the immunity and health status of their children(Yoshikawa, Aber, and Beardslee 274). Consequently, children frompoor backgrounds are more prone to chronic illnesses and are morelikely to suffer from a disability. Such health conditions affectlife expectancy, productivity in one`s lifetime, career choices andother such matters. Another area of concern is that children born inlow-income families are likely to suffer from obesity due to poornutritional habits. Obesity and other chronic diseases such asdiabetes are a threat to national security given that 27% ofAmericans aged 17 to 24 are obese thereby limiting the recruitmentpool for security forces (Egger 1). Therefore unless child poverty isaddressed with a focus on improving the health of children, there isa high likelihood that the effect will be felt in their lifetime andat the national level

Children living in poverty are more likely to develop behavioral andpsychosocial problems compared to their counterparts from wealthierbackgrounds. The social learning theory posits that children learn byimitating behavior from their environment. This implies that childrenbrought up in neighborhoods associated with poverty, violence, druguse, and other delinquent behaviors are likely to normalize and learnhabits depicted by adults (Shader 3). Furthermore, they are likely toexhibit major behavioral disorders such as aggression, attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and conduct disorder. Otheremotional problems that have been observed in children raised inpoverty include anxiety depression, poor social skills, and lowself-esteem (Yoshikawa, Aber, and Beardslee 279).

Childhood poverty imposes additional costs to the US government. Itis estimated that its costs the US government $500 billion a year inlost productivity while economic output slows down 1.3 percent of GDP(Income and Poverty). Programs aimed at fighting poverty as opposedto employing preventive policy measures such as increasing minimumwages also consume a huge chunk of the national budget. Severalcountries in Europe have successfully employed preventive policymeasures such as child tax credit (Porter 3). Furthermore, othercosts are incurred in the form of higher crime levels among the poorpeople and higher expenditure on health for people living in povertyas they are more prone to diseases.

Moreover, childhood poverty denies children some basic human rights.While children are entitled to proper health care, shelter, housing,and education, poverty may deny them access to such rights.Furthermore, the quality of life experienced by children from poorbackgrounds is unacceptable in some cases. Simple items such as toysand safe playing spaces can be unavailable in some neighborhoods(Walton 3). They also miss out on crucial life stages needed todevelop their social skills that are critical in developing theircharacters and person. For instance, they lack opportunities to visitor invite friends to their homes if their neighborhoods are perceivedas unsafe by others. Also, children may be exposed to parental abuse(Child poverty). Thus, it is evident that some of the things thatchildren from wealthy families assume to be normal are unavailable tochildren living in poverty (APA).

From the points raised above, it is clear that poverty in childrenhas a myriad of adverse effects. It is high time that governments andprivate organizations harnessed resources to develop policies andprograms that will assist children and families living in poverty.Poverty alone lowers human dignity and is an insult to theachievements man has made in the 21st century. If the future is to bepursued and all the opportunities that it presents explored, thenthere is an urgent need to address childhood poverty.

WorksCited

AmericanPsychological Association. Effects of poverty hunger and homelessnesson children

and youth. Web.6.11.2016

Child poverty: Areout-of-wedlock births the root cause. CQ Researcher vol.no.38. pp. 901-928.

Egger, Robert. “5Myths about hunger in America.” Washington Post.

Hair, Nicole, JamieHanson, Barbara Wolfe and Seth Pollak “Association of ChildPoverty,

Brain Development, and Academic Achievement.” JAMA Pediatricsvol. 169.9(2015), 822. Web.

Income andPoverty in the ed States: 2015. Census department. Web.

Porter, Eduardo.“Giving Every Child a Monthly Check for an Even Start.” NewYork Times.

11.06.2016. Web.

Poverty in theed States: census population report. Congressional digestdebates. 2010. pp.

298-300.

Shader, Michael.“Risk Factors for Delinquency: An Overview.” US Department ofJustice.

Web.

Walton, Beth. MarianWright Edelman talks child poverty. 11.06.2016. Web.

Yoshikawa, Hirokazu,J. Lawrence Aber, and William R. Beardslee. &quotThe Effects ofPoverty on

the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Children and Youth:Implications for Prevention.&quot American Psychologist 67.4(2012): 272-84. Web.

Unit

Youngand Isolated vs. My Father`s Hands

For some people, the American dream is nothing but an illusion. ManyAmericans struggle to attain it, and the number is growing. Two shortstories, Jennifer Silva`s &quotYoung and Isolated&quot and CalvinWorthington`s &quotMy father`s Hands&quot capture the elusivenessof this dream. Looking at these two stories, it is clear thatdifferent generations face unique challenges in pursuit of theAmerican dream, which is a core element of self-identity.

Jennifer Silva`s &quotYoung and Isolated&quot narrates how the highcost of living and a declining economy have pushed young people tolive in isolation and to shun relationships. The prohibitive cost ofhigher denies young people a chance to gain better skills and improvetheir employability. In Worthington`s &quotMy father`s Hands,&quotthe issue of illiteracy is displayed as a form of disability throughthe life of one man who could not land decent jobs. Eventually, hisilliteracy cost him his life.

The two stories are motivated by different factors and strive toachieve different goals. For Silva, the high cost of attainingeducation and declining jobs have denied young people the chance toform land better jobs and have meaningful relationships. Thus, thepaper portrays a declining economy as an impediment to attaining theAmerican dream of living freely and comfortably. On the contrary,Worthington`s story seeks to show how illiteracy impedes the samedream.

To support their claims, the authors employ different approaches.Silva samples several young Americans and analyzes their currentchallenges. In contrast, Worthington details the life of his fatherand how his illiteracy denied him employment and cost him his farmand life besides causing him a lot of frustration.

Accordingly, Worthington uses a sympathetic tone to express hiscloseness to the subject of the story as his father. He also narratesthe story from his point of view as part and parcel of the story. Hehad firsthand experience of his father`s frustrations caused by hisilliteracy and lack of employment. Thus, For Worthington, the storyis personal and tells the life of his father from his perspective. Asfor Silva, she employs a factual tone and narrates the story from anobjective observer`s point of view. For her, the story is notpersonal but attempts to capture the frustration of other people.

From the two stories discussed, it is clear that there is an urgentneed to address noted issues. Literacy should not be the only basisfor assessing the capabilities of people at work to accommodateilliterate people. Economically, there is a need make educationaffordable and to create more jobs to ensure young generations livecomfortable lives.

Workcited

Langan, John. TenSteps to Improving College Reading Skills. New York: TownsendPress.

2014. Print.

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Unit

GunOwnership Should be Strictly Controlled

The issue of gun control has been a hot topic in the US for a verylong term. So sensitive is the issue that it is one of the factorslikely to sway the upcoming presidential elections. On the one hand,there are those who support gun ownership for protection and as partof the second amendment. On the other hand, there are thosesupporting control citing the damage gun ownership has caused tosecurity in America and cases of mass shootings. On the face of it,one can argue that guns do not kill, but such an argument is notalive to the underlying issues. In considering of these matters, gunownership encourages not only delinquent behavior but crime violence.

Guns contribute to a higher prevalence of crime and delinquentbehavior. This has been proven over and over again in many states andcountries. Data from the FBI and other state agencies reveal thatillegal trades such as drugs, human trafficking, organized crime,money laundering and racketeering are associated with illegal gunownership (Kesteren 61). Such weapons provide the criminals with adefense system against security agencies in protecting their illegalactivities. Roughly 14,249 murders were committed in the edStates during 2013. Of these, about 9,675 or 68% involved firearms(Bangalore and Messerli 874). Again, out of the 5.9 million violentcrimes reported in 2013, 10% of them were perpetrated by individualsbearing guns (ibid). Furthermore, these guns are not only used as aform of defense system but are also used in perpetrating violenceagainst their victims.

Mass killings are encouraged by the easy accessibility of guns. Whileit is true that guns are not the only weapons that can be used in amurder, they have more lethal potent and result in a high number ofdeaths and injuries (Tomislav, Schaffer and Kleck 479 Lemieux, 75).The majority of healthcare organizations and professionals havecontinually called for a review of the gun ownership laws in the US.They argue that gun ownership is not a just a matter of crime butalso a public health concern (Barry et al. 1079). Their views aredriven by the high prevalence rates of gun-related deaths andinjuries reported to various healthcare facilities across the nation.

From an economic point of view, uncontrolled gun ownership affectsthe progress of the country in numerous ways. Shootings in thestreets and even mass killings not only cost lives but also impose ahuge burden on the American economy. The guns enable criminals tocarry on with crimes to the country`s economic disadvantage.Healthcare facilities are overwhelmed with treating and managinggun-related injuries. Health insurance companies are also affected bysuch cases (Barry et al. 1079). Such resources dedicated to managingconsequences of uncontrolled gun ownership could be directed to moreworthy causes.

Furthermore, the calls for gun control do not encourage a total banon citizen ownership of guns. On the contrary, proponents of guncontrol call for more stringent background evaluation of gun ownersand more restrictions on the type of weapons that citizens can own(La Valle 13). For instance, it is true that some states dominate ingame hunting as a sport. This recreational activity does not requirethe use of military grade assault rifles that are openly available toany willing American. Again, access to military grade weapons isunnecessary as a type of person security and home defense weapon(Bangalore and Messerli 879).

Controlled gun ownership gives deserving people access to guns anddenies those who do not need them. Proponents of gun control call forindividuals to be vetted for suitability to own guns Sen andPanjamapirom 347). For instance, persons with a history of violentbehavior or mental illness should be denied access to guns. Again,research shows that the presence of guns inhibits expression ofaggression and delinquent behavior (Pederson, Hall, Foster and Coates279). An experiment in Kennesaw Georgia in 1982 that required everyhead of a household to own gun reduced home burglaries by 89%compared to 10.9% in the rest of the state (Ren, Zhang, and Zhao1129). Moreover, controlled gun ownership provides a sense ofsecurity of the vulnerable people by knowing that criminals do notown such lethal weapons. Also, Pederson et al. (275), revealed thatover 65-year-olds had more probability of owning a gun than any otherage group as a form of security

Counterarguments to gun control regularly cite the second and fourthamendments. The fourth allows citizens to have the right to bear armsand utilize them for personal defense while the second allows theformation of militias (Baker 234). This constitutional provision isnot alive to the fact that in any given government, the concept ofproviding security and defense is a role of the government. Thegovernment is given mandate by the people whereby individuals agreeto lose a certain proportion of their freedoms and bestow them uponthe government for general application. In this, case, the governmentis given the right to apply appropriate privileges in a generalizedmanner. Thus, gun ownership should not be viewed as an individualright but a right of the government. Furthermore, the notion of theright to form militias has the potential to drive the country intoanarchy and violence as witnessed in some countries such as Libya,Afghanistan, and Colombia that are dominated by militias andinsurgent groups.

Based on the above arguments, it is evident to see that Americashould enact gun ownership laws. The impact of uncontrolled gunownership has affected the country and individuals in so many ways itis time to protect the nation as uncontrolled gun ownership is slowlybut surely driving this country into anarchy. The success ofcountries with gun control laws has already set an example for theUS.

Workscited

Altheimer, Ian andMichael Boswell,. “Reassessing the Association Between GunAvailability

and Homicide at the Cross-National Level”, American Journal ofCriminal Justice, vol. 37, no. 4, 2012, pp. 682-704. Web.

Baker, Deane-Peter,“Gun Bans, Risk, and Self-Defense,” International Journal ofApplied

Philosophy, vol.28, no. 2, Fall 2014, pp. 235-249. Web.

Bangalore, Singh andMesserli, Framo. “Gun Ownership and Firearm-Related Deaths,” The

American Journalof Medicine, vol. 126, no. 10, 2013, pp. 873–876. Web.

Barry, Colleen L.,et al. “After Newtown — Public Opinion on Gun Policy and MentalIllness.”

New EnglandJournal of Medicine 368.12 (2013): 1077–1081. Web.

Kesteren, Van.“Revisiting the Gun Ownership and Violence Link: A Multi-LevelAnalysis of

Victimization Survey Data.” British Journal of Criminology, vol.54, no.1, 2014, pp. 53–70. Web.

La Valle, James.“Gun Control” vs. “Self-Protection”: A Case against theIdeological Divide

Justice PolicyJournal vol. 10, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-25. Web.

Lemieux, FrankStanley Bricknell, and Thomas Prenzler. “Mass Shootings inAustralia

and the ed States, 1981–2013.” Journal of CriminologicalResearch, Policy and Practice, vol, 1, no. 3, 2015, pp.18-31.Web.

Lemieux, Lawrence.“Responding to mass shootings in the ed States: a multiplelevels

approach”, International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences,vol. 9, no. 1, 2014, pp. 74-93. Web.

Murphy, Ben. “GunOwnership and Firearm-Related Deaths.” The Journal of Emergency

Medicinevol. 46, no. 3, 2014, pp.446. Web.

Pederson, JoEllen,Thomas Hall, Bradley Foster, and Jessie Coates. “Gun Ownership and

Attitudes Toward Gun Control in Older Adults: Re-examining SelfInterest Theory.” American Journal of Social Science Research,vol. 1, no. 5, 2015, pp. 273-281. Web.

Ren, Ling, YanZhang, and Jihong Zhao. “The Deterrent Effect of the CastleDoctrine Law

on Burglary in Texas: A Tale of Outcomes in Houston and Dallas.”Crime and Delinquency” vol. 61 no. 8 2012, pp.1127-1151.Web.

Sen, Bisakha, andAnantachai Panjamapirom. “State Background Checks for Gun Purchaseand

Firearm Deaths: An Exploratory Study.” Preventive Medicine55.4 (2012): 346–350. Web.

Tomislav, Keith,Michael Schaffer and Gary Kleck. “Estimating the Causal Effect ofgun

Prevalence onHomicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach”, Journal

of QuantitativeCriminology, vol. 29 no. 4, 2013, pp. 477-541. Web.

resolution forphysicians: time to focus on the public health threat of gun violence

After Newtown —Public Opinion on Gun Policy and Mental Illness