UnitedStates Politics of Poverty, Article Summary
UnitedStates Politics of Poverty, Article Summary
Overan extended period, American citizens have depended on the governmentfor aids meant to help the poor. The reaction to poverty and anyother economic problem by the United States is as a result theoverdependence by low income earners. The question is whether thepoor is to be held responsible for their characters or thegovernment. Policy makers have linked poverty to the behavioral andcultural changes while in relation to welfare dependence, familybreakdown, and criminality. Therefore, continued poverty has been onthe rise and gaining prominence as summarized in the article bySchmitt (2011) under the ensuing subtopics:
Schmitt,E. R. (2011). Presidentof the other America: Robert Kennedy and the politics of poverty.Massachusetts, U.S: Univ of Massachusetts Press.
Demographicsof the Poor and Public Opinions Related to Poverty
Schmitt(2011) asserted that the poor are viewed as immoral and deprived ofthe incentives of welfare. He, however, comes out to blame the poorand the societal programs for the present high poverty prevalence onthe land.According to Schmitt (2011), structural causes of poverty include thehigh rate of unemployment among other ethnic races, uneven education,and the lack of efficient employment equity. Schmitt(2011) further outlined highdecentralization, racial prejudice, and the lack of commitment by thepoor as primary drivers to poverty. Particularly, immoral virtue bythe poor has led to structural alteration of American urban areas dueto the high rate of childbearing outside marriages and crimeactivities (Schmitt,2011).The assertions by Schmitt are echoed by Chappell(2012) who observed that thehigh rates of violence, substance use, and unwanted pregnancies havesignificantly contributed to the increased poverty levels. Similarly,Birdsall,Lustig & McLeod (2011) observed that the biases related torecruitment have resulted in the marginalization of the people ofcolor (Hispanics and African Americans), and without employment, theywill continue to remain poor. Moreover, it is unfair to keepthreatening this group of employees because there work output is low.In essence, the employers should work towards their motivation toensure that they feel valued, as that is one of the best remedies tochange the status of the low income earners (Chappell,2012).
ProblemsFaced by the Working Poor
Accordingto Schmitt(2011),approximately 49% of the poor did not have any income at all by thefall of 2010. Regardless of the few working poor, the nonworking lowincome households outnumber those who are employed. In his article,Schmitt(2011) observed thatthe working poor earn very low wages, and are often demotivated toperform better. Besides, they suffer severe racial discrimination,and stand high chances of retrenchment (Schmitt,2011).Again, the observations by Schmitt were supported by Chappell(2012) who concluded that the workingpoor constrain to meet the household needs due to dismal salaries,and they are also frustrated while trying to cover for the joblogistics of transport cost and welfare issues at the workplace.Similarly, Birdsallet al. (2011) concurred that the low income earning class encountermany challenges in their respective institution. They cited out thatsuch workers, despite earning unreasonably small salaries, areexposed to very tight schedules which do not give them time to rest.Without job break, Schmitt(2011) was quick to note that there is a likelihood of family versusjob conflict, and that has been to the detriment of both the workerand the organization. It is a top cause of the loss of job moraleamong the poor workers, especially the people of color, who are notacknowledged through rewards for good work outputs in a similarversion to the medium and high income earners.
JobTraining Programs for the Poor/Recent Welfare Reform Policies
Schmitt(2011), in his article,called for the evaluation of new and better ways to tackle theproblems caused by poverty, for instance, by encouraging a sense ofhigh responsibility for everyone and the society as a whole, sincepoverty is both rooted at personal and societal level. The poorpersons are urged to use the common sense theory in practicing how tosurvive through skills and strategies. The issue of high rate ofchildbearing among the poor is discouraged to enable the governmentwelfare works of subsidizing rent or holding mediocre jobs to assistthe poor in rent payment (Schmitt, 2011). Moreover, the U.S hasdeveloped such methods as voluntary and inclusive training programsto remedy the problem. Similarly, thegovernment has adopted the use of paternalism, which works by lookingfor external hindrance to employment, and concentrating on behaviorand social lifestyle of the poor. Particularly, the establishment ofthe Family Support Act of 1998 has encouraged the poor to participatein various activities at the workplace without the fear ofvictimization (Schmitt2011).Extra policies such as the child support policy and homeless sheltershave also been established by the government to ensure that theschools and other public institutions are more active in managing andarranging child care (Birdsallet al., 2011).However, Chappell (2012) insisted that these initiatives are unlikelyto help solve the problems faced by the poor and immorality issues ifthe administration does not collaborate efficiently with theemployers and workforce. It is through such partnerships that thepolicies outlined above can be put to practice through affirmativeaction, and that can considerably turn the situations over. Inaffirmative action, the tripartite stakeholders (government,employers, and staff) must ensure that there is transparent hiring,employee training and development, performance appraisal, welfare,and staff motivation. That will give the poor workers a sense ofbelonging, which is decisive in turning their statuses over to becomebetter income earners through quality job performance (Schmitt 2011).
Whiledoing a systematic literature review of diverse literature related tothe politics of poverty, Schmitt (2011) successfully mapped out thedemographics of poverty, the causes, effects on employees, and theprobable solutions. He used both qualitative and quantitativeresearch methods for the literature review to come up with the studyfindings. Nevertheless, from the research, Schmitt proved that theissue of poverty should not only be blamed on the poor on the basisof their high immorality and lack of commitment levels. The authorwas quick to cite out that the persisting inequality practices in thejob market are decisive in increasing poverty incidences in theUnited States. For example, employers use color as a tool to highercandidates and even if the people of color are recruited, they end upwith low salaries, tight schedules, and multiple threats of losingtheir jobs. That has resulted in the current state where the lowincome earners lack the motivation to perform better and commit totheir organizations. Consequently, Schmitt (2011) concluded thatunless the issues of racial discrimination, salary increment, andtraining programs are ventured on adequately, the poor will maintainthat status into the future.
Ona continuum of political rules ranging from the absolute authorityover the minority, people of color, women, and the individuals withdisability, to a goal of mutual consideration for equality for thesake of good life for all, many historical political philosopherssingled out the latter for poverty eradication. The United States, inparticular, should use the same political idea to contain low incomeearning in the country.
Povertyin the United States is not as a result of the lack of opportunitiesas perceived by the unemployed group, but rather, because of thetendency of less work performance and the disinterest shown by theAmerican economy towards solving the problem. Therefore, the poorthemselves should put more commitment to potentiate the governmentcommitment in poverty aversion. Finally, the government and thewealthy should stop theorizing, and be realistic in the way theyaddress the matter of poverty, otherwise the country will continue tosuffer the consequences of unnecessary crimes, immorality, highpopulation growth rate, and reduced national revenue generation.
Birdsall,N., Lustig, N., & McLeod, D. (2011). Declining inequality inLatin America: Some economics, some politics. Centerfor Global Development Working Paper,(251).
Chappell,M. (2012). Thewar on welfare: Family, poverty, and politics in modern America.PA, United States: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Schmitt,E. R. (2011). Presidentof the other America: Robert Kennedy and the politics of poverty.Massachusetts, U.S: University of Massachusetts Press.