The nature of poverty and the reasons for its persistence related to the behavior of the individual and the state of the social system. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich shows poverty as an integral part of the capitalist system and evaluate it as a benefit for the whole community eventually led to the problematization special lifestyle in poverty. This led to a search for a cultural mechanism of depletion (displacement to the periphery) maladjusted individuals, which combine and interact with individual and social factors. However, the author believes that the poor are "invisible" in the political sense. They are for the most part do not belong to trade unions, nor fraternity, nor a political party. They have no lobby; they do not put forward any legislative programs, so “to be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else” (Ehrenreich 15).
Poverty in the United States is still one of the most urgent problems. In 2003, the US federal government estimates that about 26 million Americans were poor, accounting for more than 12% of the population. After the start of the current economic crisis in 2008, 39.8 million Americans have been poor, accounting for 13.2% of the population. Due to the sharp rise in price of living in low-income category whose income is entirely for the purchase of products and goods of prime necessity, a growing number of people involved. Beyond poverty and are socially active people with high levels of education, initiative, intellectual development, to a lesser degree conformal with respect to the established order, which will seek to change its position, changing the social system. At the moment, the received cost of living in the US is more than a solution "policy of helping the poor," which actually means drawing a line under the lowest-income social groups, where the government can afford to intervene. The living wage is adjusted government assistance to the poor, and the government can make changes according to their political needs.
The living wage is an hourly rate that a person needs to make in order to support his family if he is the only employee and works full time (2080 hours per year). The minimum food basket that determines the level of satisfaction of the needs of food, clothing, shelter, below which human existence is unacceptable. The minimum wage is the same for all people, regardless of the number of dependents. The poverty rate, as a rule, based on the gross annual income. In Ohio, the minimum wage is $ 8.10 per hour but for the cost of living for a family consisting of a woman and two children is needed salary of about $ 18 per hour. These figures show the costs that are included in the assessment of the cost of living. Their values depend on family size, composition and current place of residence. Monthly expenses include: meals - $ 600, child care - $ 900, medical insurance - $ 400, $ 1,000 accommodation, transportation (car) - $ 500, other costs - $ 200. We also need to include the required monthly income after taxes. In large cities, high transport costs, significantly higher prices for all goods and services. This analysis shows that the poverty rate among households that contain women can be critical, and is particularly worried by the fact that one fifth of all children under 18 years of age, living in poverty. Among two-parent families where family members work full-time and have a high level of education, the proportion of the poor below. At the same time, thanks to a fairly generous social security, the percentage of elderly people living in poverty are also below the national. Poor children are more at risk from the point of view of a number of long-term problems, including such as poor health and lack of education, crime, drugs and teenage pregnancy. Many children are living in poverty today, reached maturity sick, ignorant and unfit for any work. Increased concentration of poverty among children today do not promise to reduce in the future. Furthermore, this means that at the same problems arise with improved productivity, because the poor level of education of children is generally low, as well as its quality.
Radical changes in American families, such as increase in the number of single parent families, marginalized jobs, increasing the number of women in the workplace, forced to think about the changes in social policy. Low levels of education also limits the choice of profession. The same reason can lead to that fall into the category of poor representatives previously advantaged groups, because the changes in society, the economy may require a higher level of education of employees. An important factor is discrimination in the labor market. supply and demand analysis shows how discrimination - in this case, refers to discrimination in employment - is an additional source of income inequality. Assume that limited women's access to such professions as a secretary or a teacher, who was once considered a purely "female". This means that the proposal of the female workforce, compared with the demand for these few jobs will be so great that wages and incomes are low. In addition, men do not have to compete with women in "male" occupations (carpenters, drivers, accountants). And this leads to artificial restriction of supply compared with demand for these professions, bringing the wages and incomes are rising.
A study by Barbara Ehrenreich has shown that the poor are peculiar to low self-esteem, understated needs. They are much more rely on the coincidence of favorable external circumstances, luck, rather than on their own efforts to monitor with the way their lives. An increased aggressiveness in relation to society, government agencies at all levels. In general, the hierarchy of values of the poor is sufficiently close to the hierarchy of values of other segments of the population, except in relation to their work, interest in which the poor are much lower. At the same time a way of life and the world of consciousness poorly differentiated largest per capita income, though differences in living standards between socio-economic groups of the population are increasing with each passing day.
The current government policy provided a huge, highly regressive subsidies to accumulate wealth for a pretty rich individuals. On the contrary, public policy ignores the stimulation of the accumulation of property for the poor families. The main high-end property is not income and accumulated assets. The share of wages is low. In the middle and lower classes of the main source of income in favor of the existence, as at the first, and if there is wealth, it is insignificant, and the second it does not exist at all. Wealth makes it possible not to work, and his absence forced to work for wages. The essence of power implies the ability to impose its will against the will of others. In American society, the power of institutionalized, that is protected by law and tradition, surrounded by privileges and broad access to social benefits, allows you to take vital decisions for the society, including laws, usually favorable upper class. In all societies, people with one or another kind of power - political, economic or religious make up institutionalized elite.
The aggravation of the problem of social inequality is due to the deterioration of the situation on the labor market. Such phenomena as unemployment, underemployment, delayed payment of wages and its low level lead to the spread of poverty among the working population. At the same time one can observe excessively high wages in individual (small) categories of employees. Furthermore, this differentiation in pay are often not due to real differences in the level of complexity of work, the degree of responsibility borne by workers. This unnecessarily increases the differentiation of incomes. The author believes that the system of state social security, as well as private charities should be used to support such people. Poverty is an important indicator of socio-economic status of the population. Living standards in the long run, it determined not only by the efforts of labor and economic activity of individuals, families, and equitable distribution of income.
Thus, the analysis of these indicators of poverty is needed to characterize the minimum acceptable level of consumption in society, inequalities in income distribution regulation, selection of target groups for social support and evaluation of program performance. It is in times of social and economic crises dynamics of poverty should be the subject of special attention of the political authorities and experts. It can be said that the composition of people falling into poverty is largely variable. Only slightly more than half of those who belong to this category in a given year, it will be in the coming year. Condition of poverty is much more stable in a number of groups, especially such as the black and Hispanic populations, families that include women, people with low education and not suitable for the labor market because of the almost complete lack of any qualifications, commitment to addiction , alcoholism or because of mental illness.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. Macmillan, 2010.