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Poverty Essay Research Paper Poverty in the

Poverty Essay, Research Paper

Poverty in the United States is getting worse each day and not enough

is getting done about it. The readings from ?Babies and Benefits? by Sheila

Holbrook-White, the article on poverty by Michael J. Paquette, and

?Keeping Women And Children Last? by Ruth Sidel made me view the

issues of poverty in a different way. I never realised what kind of people

were living in poverty, and the true reasons why they are there. What

amazes me the most is how much these people need help, and how little the

government is doing to help them. The government should set up work

programs for these people to help them get better jobs and make enough

money to survive.

The politicians in Washington D.C. and all over the U.S. want

nothing more than to cut back on government funding for the people in

poverty. The government doesn?t believe that most of the people actually

need this money from AFDC. They can?t get it because they don?t meet the

proper criteria set by the government. Either they?re not poor enough,

they?re not poor in the right way ? or they need the money for the wrong


The reading in the book Keeping Woman and Children Last, showed

time and time again the shocking stories of how people fall into poverty after

living a middle class life for decades. Reasons pertaining to illness, death,

unemployment, divorce and accidents left these people with nothing and the

government would refuse to help them. These people are called the ?New

Poor?(Sidel, 1998, p.60). Their social security and pensions are not enough

for them to live on so they must rely on these funds to help.

?With marriage being touted today as a central route out of poverty, few

critics of the choices and behaviour of poor woman speak about marriage as

a path into poverty.?(Sidel, 1998, p.60)

I never thought that marriage could lead to poverty until I read this

story from ?Keeping Women And Children Last?. A welfare worker married

one of her clients and ended up on welfare because of her marriage. She

married a man who had ? little education, a drug problem and an alcohol

problem.?(Sidel, 1998, p.60) Their marriage fell apart because of his abuse

to his wife and children and the woman was forced to go for help from the

place where she used to work, a welfare office. They got back together

eventually after he came out of a rehabilitation program. He then started

with the drugs and alcohol again and she was force to leave him to apply for


?Those who are stigmatising welfare recipients do not point to all those

young mothers who are valiantly caring for their children on meager

AFDC checks while struggling to complete their education.?(Sidel, 1998,


Parent who receive AFDC checks that are going back to school to

better qualify themselves for better jobs in order to better provide for their

families. One woman came off the streets of New York City and went from

begging at supermarkets to attending Columbia University through their

Higher Education Opportunities Program (HEOP). ? She is constantly

fearful that HEOP will be cut back and that ?welfare reform? will force her

to quit school and go back to work full time.? (Sidel, 1998, p.64) These

people need help while they are in school, but welfare reform is not the kind

of help they need. These programs should receive more government funding

to not just better the people and help the children but to better society.

Some people are also saying that single mothers have more children to

receive more money from the AFDC. This is where the term ?woman have

babies for benefits?(Holbrook-white, 1998, p.1) comes from. Politicians like

Bob James and Robert Rector believes that these women are cheating the

system. Study?s have shown that even though AFDC benefits have fallen

across the nation 47% since 1970, single mother childbearing has nearly

doubled. Statistics in Alabama show that more than half the babies born in

Alabama are unplanned. I feel that these cutbacks on welfare reform are

just excuses to spend less on the poor and more on the wealthy.

The statistics on specific ethnic groups are ridiculous. 33% of

Hispanics live in poverty. Sidel shows that that the average white family

income is $20,000 more than the average black family income. She also

shows that ?Connecticut, one of the richest states in the nation, has since

passed one of the most restricted welfare bills adopted by any state.? (Sidel,

1998, p.62) Our government and the politicians who run it care more about

weapons of war and dinner parties than investing that wasted money on the

people of their nation. The government sets up programs aimed to help the

poor that only hurt them even more.

If it were up to me I would set up special working programs for these

people who need the help. They would be trained for better jobs and they

would receive childcare assistance while they worked. They would be paid

and receive full benefits and then when they are ready the would be helped

in finding a job that meets their new qualifications, that paid well enough to

support their children and receive medical benefits. A program like this

would be costly but everyone would benefit from it . Woman will be able to

support their families, and the children will have an opportunity at a better

life. A life where they could receive Christmas presents, where they didn?t

have to worry if they were gonna have dinner at home. Where they could

have new shoes and some new clothes.

The government has to help these people the right way. They have no

right to let these poor people live like this any longer. I never realized how

much of a problem poverty was in our country. These readings made me

truly see how wrong our country is and how soon we must make it right.

Because if we do not make it right soon we may not have another chance to

do so, and these people would have suffered like this for nothing. Their

examples should make a difference and change things. Our government

needs to pay more attention to its needy people and do something about it.

1) Holbrook-White, Sheila. Babies and Benefits.


2) Paquette, Michael J. 1998. Staten Island Poverty. Staten island Advance,

18 Sept.

3) Sidel, Ruth. 1998. Keeping Women And Children Last: America?s War on the Poor. New York: Penguin Putnam