Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The working poor and welfare

Hm, so I just read this fantastic book by Barbara Ehrenreich for my sociology class. She (an upper middle class woman) went and worked in low paying jobs for three months and then wrote a book about it. It's called Nickel and Dimed, and I would recommend, especially for anyone who thinks people who receive welfare are just lazy people getting government handouts. So often in our society, we think that having a job solves everything. The reality is that it doesn't. Many jobs don't offer enough money for people to even get by. Here's the last paragraph (which is all I have written so far) of my response paper to the book.
The solution in the book seems to be for the government to step in, but it is also for people to get more informed. My mom has worked in low-wage jobs trying to support her family, and she recently had to quit because the money she made in her low-wage job, a paltry $6.75 an hour, was not enough to justify losing housing benefits, Medicaid, and food stamps. I think the solution to this problem lies with us. Throughout American history, major social change has come about first through the people. I say it’s time for us to grasp our heritage, and in the peaceful tradition of the Civil Rights’ movement, make our voices heard. In the words of Barbara Ehrenreich, “The moneylenders have finally gotten Jesus out of the temple” (118). I say it’s time we bring him back in.

Big corporations in America severely underpay their lower level workers. Outside the US is another story all together. I say it's time that people start being more aware of this situation and petitioning for change. Our government is run mostly by rich white men relying on statistical data for this issue rather than personal understanding. I think it's time, at the very least, for the general public to know how the "other half" lives. Anyway, there's my rant for the day. Just something to keep in mind next time you get pissed at the McDonald's workers for screwing up your order.

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