Thesis Statement on the American Way of Poverty

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David Gursky, the poverty expert at Stanford explained that there are two ways that poverty can be understood. One can think of it in absolute terms- simply having insufficient resources to meet the basic demands of functioning in a contemporary world. So one can think about not having enough food, not having the shelter that one needs to function minimally in society, not having enough access to jobs, etc. One can also think of it in relative terms, where one takes into account what their level of income is within society as a whole. As we become a more complicated and differentiated society, our needs and capacity for minimal functioning shift over time. For example, as cell phones increasingly become the method by which potential employers contact people who apply for jobs, people start needing a cell phone to be eligible for these jobs. Gursky believes that the main mechanism which creates poverty and inequality in US society comes that lots of kids born into poor neighborhoods do not have access to very good educational training at the preschool, primary, or secondary level. Vastly inferior training imparted to children born in poor neighborhoods leads to the fact that many of them do not qualify to get entry into college. Gurski further reinforces that the main source of poverty is inadequate access to college. There is “one big thing” he believes that if changed about American society would fundamentally reduce childhood poverty. He feels that it is highly illegitimate to have a highly segregated residential living situation where poor people and rich people live in separate neighborhoods which is vastly prevalent in the US. He further stressed that the biggest commitment of the people of the US towards their country could be to remove this residential segregation based on income and if implemented this would have the biggest effect on the reduction of poverty and inequality. He referred to it as ‘The Golden Ticket’ to reduce poverty and inequality.

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But he also pointed out that it would be the most difficult change to implement and that is why many people focus on educational reforms as a remedy. This would be hard to remove segregated residential status because it could challenge the provision of the fundamental human right to live in any place in a country where a citizen would wish to. Further, changing the mindset of the people towards a phenomenon that was happening for ages is the most difficult hurdle one needs to cross. But Gursky strongly believes that if one is to make a change with a serious commitment to eradicate poverty from the US also needs to pursue the policy of delegitimizing the status of segregated living. By doing so, they would be able to focus on having a fundamental education reform in which labor can respond to price signals. There is a huge price signal in the form of very high returns for a college education. If the market is working as it is supposed to work, labor would respond to that signal and it would drive down the returns to education because there would be more competition among the highly educated folks. But labor is not responding to that price signal. It is not possible for kids who are born into poor neighborhoods to reap the benefits of price signals because of inadequate training

Government policies and benefits intended to support those in need— will play a significant role not only for those classified as living in poverty or deep poverty but also for those in near poverty. I feel that some long-term policies could be introduced to make US society free from poverty and inequality. One example could be a government-funded nutritional assistance program for poor children so that they get their nutritional requirements and are physically fit and healthy. Raising the federal hourly minimum wage limit, and creating a monthly child allowance program for poor families would also help as well. In poor families, children after reaching the legal working age, tend to opt for part-time jobs. These measures would help them to have some savings, which could be useful for skill-building which might further help them to be qualified enough to apply to public universities or colleges, or better-paying jobs. This in a way could correct the inherent fault of the labor market to some extent. Increasing access to affordable high-quality pre-school programs would also help the poor children to build their skills. 

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Thesis Statement on the American Way of Poverty. (2023, October 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“Thesis Statement on the American Way of Poverty.” Edubirdie, 27 Oct. 2023,
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