Four states recently asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for permission to require Medicaid recipients in their states who are not disabled or elderly to work.
This request is reflective of the fact that many Americans believe that poverty is, by and large, the result of laziness, immorality and irresponsibility.
We have all heard that the poor and minorities need only make better choices – work hard, stay in school, get married, do not have children before they can afford them. Just a few weeks ago, Housing Secretary Ben Carson called poverty “a state of mind.” At the same time, his budget to help low-income households could be cut by more than US$6 billion next year.
This is an example of a simplistic view toward the complex social phenomenon.
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Essay On Poverty In Usa
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I believe one reason the United States is cutting spending on health insurance and safety nets that protect poor and marginalized people is because of American culture, which overemphasizes individual responsibility.
Our culture does this to the point that it ignores the effect of root causes shaped by society and beyond the control of the individual. As someone who studies poverty solutions and social and health inequalities, I am convinced by the academic literature that the biggest reason for poverty is how a society is structured.
The majority group naturally has a head start, relative to groups that deal with a wide range of societal barriers on a daily basis.
This is what I mean by structural causes of poverty and inequality.