The term ‘poverty’ is surrounded by several myths. Amongst them, one is that poor people prefer to live off the government, refuse to work and are lazy. In comparison to wealthier individuals, poor people do not have lower motivation levels or weaker ethics of work, yet still, they often are tagged as ‘lazy.’ Whereas, the fact cited by the US Department of Labor is that at least twenty-seven weeks are spent working full time by ten million of those that lie under the limit of poverty defined by federal and referred to as the ‘working poor.’
Similarly, one of the parents of around 83% of children belonging from low-income families is employed. The number is quite close to 60% to that one parent who works throughout the year and full-time. The bitter reality is that throughout a specific lifetime, millions of American individuals revolve out and in of poverty. Whether be it for a decade or a period of months, at some point of life before the age of 65, more than half of the population of the United States will go below the line of poverty. Those in poverty, sufficient aid is indeed provided by the government, like Medicaid and welfare which are another type of aid of government likewise to unemployment insurance, students’ loans, and social security.
This issue was also well-highlighted by the radio story by NPR (2003). It used the case story of Laressa Matthews who likewise to other working poor people in America works at a daycare center which is located out of the basement of her home in Baltimore. She spends around thirteen hours working starting from 5 early in the morning. In this daycare center, she looks after 8 children ranging from the age of 1 year to 12 years. In the United States, she represents those 10 millions of low-wage individuals who have no safety, no savings, and no health care. Children who are looked after by Laressa also belongs to low-wage families with single working mothers. One works in a nursing home from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., whereas, whereas, one works as a pre-school teacher.
From the radio audio clip, it can be analyzed that Laressa Mathews needs to work hard to maintain a minimum living standard, although the city of Baltimore has around 12,00 licensed and respected childcare providers. However, the limit of each varies up to 8 children. Larissa earns around 15000 dollars a year after expenses. She has no money in savings and has pass two bills for emergency room business. Above all, she cannot afford health insurance. She cannot have a significant amount of benefits. Although she earns extra money three nights a week to finance her truck.
Moreover, Laressa Mathews cannot earn more despite working hard for so many hours because in America, being poor is indeed hard work. The fact is that full-time jobs are done by millions of poor individuals, however, due to their low wages, the forty-hour week is not sufficient to raise them above from their poverty levels. For example, a minimum wage and a full-time job pay around 14,500 dollars annually, whereas, around 23000 dollars are required by a family of 4 individuals to live above the line of poverty.
This is the story of around 89.9 million working adults who despite working full time and still unable to keep their families above the poverty level. Moreover, to get food on the table, most of them are forced to be dependent on the federal nutritional assistance programs. Further, safe housing cannot be afforded by them. Even, for a 2-bedroom apartment, a fair-market rent cannot be afforded by them. This means that millions of low-wage individuals get homelessness due to lack of affordable housing, live far from their jobs, are unsafe, or forced to rent their places that eventually eat up their paychecks.