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Do Now

How should the U.S. treat people who are living in poverty? What would an anti-poverty agenda look like? Devise one piece of legislation that could make a difference.


Mahatma Gandhi is reported to have said, “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” For weakest members, read poorest citizens.

46 million Americans — 15 percent of the population — are now counted as living in poverty. According to the US Census Bureau this poverty rate has remained roughly at this same level since 2011.

Half the jobs in the nation pay less than $34,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A quarter of those jobs pay below the poverty line for a family of four, which adds up to less than $23,000 annually. Families with another working adult do better, but single parents don’t have that option. Poverty among families with children headed by single mothers exceeds 40 percent.

KQED’s Newsfix gives a clear sense of what this means in California. “Children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty are more likely to experience stress, drop out of school, and grow up to be low-income adults…some parts of the state have many more high poverty kids than others. In Oakland, 22 percent of kids live in neighborhoods where a large proportion of families live below the federal poverty line, says Ted Lempert, executive director of Oakland-based Children Now. In the city of Fresno, that number grows to more than 40 percent.” (from Annie E. Casey Foundation report)

According to Robert Reich, the economist, (talking about his new film, Inequality for All, on PBS Newshour), “we know that 42 percent of poor kids born into poverty remain in poverty for their entire lifetimes, a higher percentage than even in Britain, where 30 percent of people born in poverty stay in poverty. And Britain’s is traditionally a rigid class society. We have less upward mobility than Britain; we have less upward mobility than any other advanced country.”

For most of the 1960s and 70s the minimum wage paid enough for a family of three to rise above the poverty line, about $18,000 today. This is not the case today. The minimum wage now stands at $7.25 per hour, resulting in below poverty earnings of approximately $15,000 for full-time employees. For tipped workers the minimum wage is even lower, and has been since 1991, at $2.13 per hour. So food industry workers (servers) in the United States are three times more likely than the general workforce to be paid sub-poverty wages and twice as likely to need food stamps. (see KQED Do Now’s Making Fast-Food for Little Pay)

And then there is sick pay. More than 40 percent of workers in the private sector —including 81 percent of low-wage workers—do not receive sick pay or paid leave to care for a sick child or family member. Taking time off to deal with a personal or family illness would mean losing their job. The United States is one of the only high-income countries not to set a minimal standard for paid sick days, or to provide paid leave to care for a family member. For families in or near poverty, losing pay makes the struggle to provide the basics even harder.

How should the US treat its needy? What would an anti-poverty agenda look like? Devise one piece of legislation that could make a difference.


PBS NewsHour video Why Robert Reich Cares so Passionately about Econ. Inequality
Economics correspondent Paul Solman talks to Robert Reich about “Inequality for All,” a documentary about the former labor secretary’s personal crusade to explain to Americans why everyone should care about the nation’s growing economic disparity and divisiveness.

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowPoverty

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets. You can visit our video tutorials that showcase how to use several web-based production tools. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.

More Resources

KQED The Lowdown post Infographic: What Does it Mean to Be Poor in America?
In October, the U.S. Census Bureau released a series of 2012 income data for American households. The figures shows that despite the nation’s supposed economic recovery, average American household incomes didn’t really budge from where they were the year before. Meanwhile, the poverty rate remained at roughly the same level as it was in 2011 as well.

NPR Radio segment The Trouble with the Poverty Line
According to the government, there are 46.5 million Americans who live below the poverty line. In other words, that’s how many people are officially poor. But pretty much everyone who studies poverty agrees: The way we arrive at this figure is completely wrong.

Washington Post article Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West
A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country. Contains a graphic illustrating how low-income students made up at least half the public school student population in 17 states in 2011, a marked increase from 2000, when four states topped 50 percent.

How Should We Address Poverty? 23 August,2017Maxine Einhorn

  • Stephanie Sanchez

    The U.S. should provide more benefits for children who are raised by single mothers.

  • CHaller19

    I think we should address poverty but not all of it. The problem with the welfare system for those below the poverty line is that it give no incentive for those in poverty to get a job. With ObamaCare now in place they don’t have to put money towards their health care while higher income families and people are paying for it. The welfare goes towards anyone who needs it, so why the heck is our money be going to illegal immigrants? The point of a poverty line is to set a minimum income for a family or people that they can survive on. If money is going to illegal immigrants, american citizens cannot get as much money to survive on. I think we should focus on poverty by keeping American money in American hands and not in illegal immigrants’. The problem is more illegal immigrants come to America every day becuase they know that the welfare system in America is so messed up that they can just hop on over and file for welfare.

  • Jen R.

    Children with single parents should be given more support from the government such as, better guidance programs and food services to feed them the nutrients they need in order to grow into a functioning adult.

  • Maliha M

    I think that we are doing right now is not considered bad or unhelpful. It is not just the government that holds this responsibility. we all have to partake in the effort to eliminate poverty. An anti-poverty agenda… how would we know what that looks like? we are not even close to dismissing poverty from our country. IF we could improve on our efforts, we can: increase the budget we have for helping the needy, provide more jobs, provide more financial aid for single parents, and anything in between!

  • Brandon C

    The problem with many “anti-poverty” agendas, is that the more aid we give away the closer our capitalist system resembles communism. And communist governments have killed countless people. The unfortunate fact is that some people are not good spenders. They buy really expensive cars or vacations that keep them in the red. Maybe it’s not their fault, maybe they have some genetic inclination to just buy things. However if our current system is not enough to help these people, then nothing will.

  • davidjenny

    The feel the government should do more to help the lower class especially more benefits for single parents and their children and make it easier to put them on welfare. I would these people give them more sick days, after my Aunt’s husband left her she had to raise four boys and carry a full time job as a medical assistant by herself. As a result of having very few sick days if one of her boys was sick the oldest boy would stay home and watch over them.
    Also better guidance programs and food services the need in order to grow into a hale and hearty young man or women .

  • Victor Herrera

    I think we need to continue what we are doing because the poverty line does not include all the aid we give people . The poverty line does not include medicaid , footed stamps and other things we give them . The real problem is how unequal these people are . ( read this for more info

  • Abbie M.

    The key to ending poverty is not necessarily starting a program that helps sustain the impoverished in our society, but a program that teaches necessary skills and provides vital education that can help poverty stricken people be useful members of the workforce. As the Chinese Proverb says, “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” A useful, practical, and ultimately beneficial legislation will include a program that emphasizes education and necessary work skills for basic, entry level jobs. We must refrain from giving “hand outs”, or simply giving money to people who are on/below the poverty line. Yes, that money helps for a month, but we would help so many more people long term and have potential to end the cycle of poverty if there were easily accessible education programs and basic skill schools to aid those in poverty to learn vital information to get a foot in the door in the work force.

  • D corona

    The government should be more helpful for low class citizens.Single parents should have more benifits for their families. If the government gives less and less to the poor then the economy will drop.

  • Brandon Peterson

    The government seems to love sending aid over to other countries, but should they take place over its own country? Education is key to success, and lack of education and motivation are big causes for poverty. If you are born into poverty and lack motivation to get out of it, you’ll just continue your ride on welfare. There should be more government programs to encourage education in high poverty areas to help the kids grow up into motivated adults that want to get further in life than welfare and a McDonalds job. Other countries are important to help, but if your citizens are not being educated and living well, then what future is in store for the country?

  • Tyler Ashbrook

    The government should spend more time exporting goods to boost our economy first off. second off, a strict and secure section 8 program should be put into place. When filling the 8 form, specifications like family members and age should be noted and healthy foods and necessities should be used. No junk food or entertainment, it is far to easy to earn the money for a tv or game system and this would deter people from abusing the program like the current one already is. they should also scrap no child left behind so that the child will learn at his/her own pace. greater understanding means better choices and more success for the country. My ideas are radical but they seem a lot smarter than letting someone buy 10 ps3s with welfare checks. priorities need to be straightened out and welfare is the biggest issue for people.

  • Michael_A_B

    I think that more benefits should be given to single parent families.

  • Edgar:Peter

    I think we should raise the minimum wage and start organizations to support poor families. Improving the welfare system so that everyone can access it may also help families in need.

  • Leah K

    I think that the most disappointing thing about the entire economic divide is the lack of education for children in poverty. One of the key factors that America was built on is education and schooling for children, because that is the key to success in the future. The government needs to pay more attention and take action to help those in poverty because they are the future of the nation.

  • Lisa

    Since most people who are in poverty remain in poverty their whole lives, then the government should do something so that people can get out of it. This can be addressed by focusing more on education. The governments spends more money on prisons than schools so it would be better if they made school their first priority. Another thing that the U.S. likes to do is help send aide to other countries. When other countries are having problems, the U.S. likes to get involve but they should focus more on the poverty problems in the country. All the money that is used to help others can be very helpful if used to decrease the amount of poverty.

  • Chris Tran

    Raekwon:Chris- We think the U.S should treat people who are living in poverty with respect and equality because we believe that we are people and sometimes we need to respect each other no matter how rich or poor we are. We also should raise the minimum wage because the people who are working minimum wage can afford to feed their families. We think everyone deserves the amount of money equally.

  • Emalyn

    Obviously there’s a huge issue with poverty in this country, that people aren’t really paying attention to. One of the resources I read said that the percentage of poverty in America has flatlined over the past two years, and if that’s not a call to action, I don’t know what is. I completely agree with what Robert Reich said about the school system in America. It’s absolutely broken, and education is such an important factor for economic success. I think that making sure the schools, even in the poorest of neighborhoods, offer quality education and opportunities is an important step in lowering the percentage of poverty.

  • khadidi fofana

    The Gorverment should help out single parents, and low income families, because if they help these families out maybe that can help the children to go to school so that they wouldn’t face poverty in the future. If there a lot families out there going through poverty, that means that their kids might drop out, and that’s not helping the situation out, that’s actually making it worst.

  • Haji , Manny

    Emmanuel & Haji- I believe that poverty has many factors of how it effects families and communities in Philadelphia. I can relate to the ideas that are given in the passage above. Some ideas that can be addressed are the ideas on how poverty has an effect on single parented households. The poverty line of what seems how much the government expects to a certain individual or persons of a household has a effect on how much the average person could earn. After reading the article it makes us feel as though we relate to it because we live in a city and poverty occurs everyday.

  • Aaron T. and Temperance M.

    Aaron- I think the social economics effects the society we’re living in. At least United States are doing better than other countries. Even though our country is struggling, we tend to not think about the life situations. In clip from Why Robert Reich Cares so Passionately about Economic Inequality, Robert said the issues talked about fairness and public morality. I agree to this somewhat because people have chances to work for something. They screw up their lives and its harder for them to gain it back. United States did give opportunities for them to stay in such as homeless shelter, food drive and other programs. At the same time, America is selfish and they should think about the country instead of worrying about other countries.

    Temperance- I think the U.S should put money towards charities, and more homeless shelters instead of spending money on pointless things. I also think that the homeless plays a big part in it as well. I think that they have the power to change their situation. Although the economy is bad, I think that if everyone joined to together, and put effort into the community, then it could be better.

  • Alex Marothy

    We should drastically increase minimum wage, fund basic education, and make college free for everyone. After that, we should encourage the impoverished to have less children, and really inspire youth to stay in school. To end homelessness, we should stop playing golf, and build free housing on all the millions of wasted acres.

    • Jae Hun

      I agree with the part increasing minimum wage, but I have different idea with making colleges free for everyone. Colleges are like the first step to take before going in to business and if we don’t pay college tuitions, we will get lower education and will not get variety of things college provides.

  • Sadie

    Sadie and Jasir; In our preamble it says”[…] form a more perfect union, establish justice” in order to live like this we all need to ensure the well being of one another. A way to treat the problem is by having the wealthy pitch in. Even though they worked hard for their money they should still be responsible of helping out the well being of all people. In order for people to help people who are in poverty get out of it we need to start with education. Not only the type of education that you are in but the environment that you are learning in as well. To enrich the education of the youth there needs to be a motivation that they can achieve achieve more than society says they can. Putting them in a position to fail is not motivating them to try. We need to create a more realistic outlook on what our poverty line is. As of now it is $19,000 for 3 person households, this shows that our government is out of sync with the american people and what it takes to live in our society.

  • Bruce Wang

    I think the US should do something to help the poverty. The government should devise one piece of legislation to make sure the rights of the poverty. And the poverty should try their best to live better, the government should encourage them and give them some financial assistance if they need,so they won’t give up. Poor people are poor because there are a lot of reasons. An anti-poverty agenda should help poor people to avoid being poor.If I could device a legislation, I will let the poors work themselves in order to obtain wage.They should not get money without doing anything. If they want to get away from being poor, they have to work themselves.

  • Alex M

    I think that a good start would be to raise minimum wage. The CEO of McDonald’s claimed that this would force them to raise food costs, but then raised his salary from 8.8 million to 27.7 million, while forcing his employees to live in poverty. Companies need to stop lining their pockets before they give their employees the treatment and payment they need to live decently. One step we could take towards this would be to give minimum wage a significant boost.

  • Jasmine Masih

    A way to end poverty would be to to work on unemployment. There is a difference from being in poverty and being lazy. A lot of people are in poverty because they do not have enough or the same resources. In the words of Gandhi “poverty is the worst form of violence!” Ending poverty is easier said than done like world peace but we can achieve this!

  • Nikki J.

    The U.S. government needs to provide more jobs for the population of the country. Many are unemployed and if the U.S. provided jobs, then there would be more of an opportunity to earn money for those in poverty. The poor need to have more opportunities in the working industry because they don’t have access to education for those jobs that require a higher level of education. If lower level jobs were provided for people in poverty, then they could earn money without having to be skilled or certified in a certain area. The more jobs there are, the more money is being created, thus the less people in poverty.

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  • Luca S.

    I think the US should do something to help the poor. They should increase the minimum wage and create more programs to help the poor as well as after school activities to keep the kids off the street. The U.S should put money towards charities and more homeless shelters instead of spending money on pointless things. If the poor want to stop being poor, they will need to cooperate with each other and the government.


    • MS SHS

      I agree, we need to create opportunities to help the poor. By creating an after school program, it will teach kids what they can do to make sure they do everything they can to try to get out of poverty. By having a program to rely on, it might keep kids motivated on bettering their future. However, i think that donating money to homeless shelters is just a temporary fix. We need to do something that will apply to a greater number of people who are struggling.

  • Wynn G.

    I think something that could help the U.S. in many ways is starting to insource jobs. Major U.S. companies have been outsourcing jobs to other countries for years, if the U.S. worked with these companies,potentially giving them tax breaks for employing more Americans, more jobs would of course be created. Whether or not this would create well paying jobs is another story of course.

    • Emma SHS

      Ultimately, by bringing jobs back to the United States, an entire new list of problems will arise. For example, Walmart manufactures almost all of their products in China. The manufacturers of Walmart are being paid well below the United States minimum wage. By shifting manufacturing to the United States, Walmart will be forced to raise their pay for the U.S. workers. The only way to compensate for this increase pay is to increase sale prices. Keep in mind, Walmart is just one of many large companies that this applies to. So yes, more jobs will be available, but at the same time the cost of living will increase as well. Resulting in a greater struggle to survive for those living below the poverty line. Not saying that starting in-source jobs is a bad idea, it’s just not as simple as everyone thinks.

      • Michelle SHS

        I agree, its easier said than done. It seems like most of the obvious solutions ultimately result in a vicious cycle.

      • Wynn G.

        Firstly, not to burst your bubble, but Walmart doesn’t manufacture any of the products it sells in it’s stores besides it’s line of “great value” foods. Walmart sells other companies products. Secondly,in reference to your point about increased product cost, Apple has recently started bringing manufacturing for their mac pro back to the states. They’ve managed to do this without increasing the price of their mac pro. They’e been able to do this because the wage gap between Chinese and American workers has shrunk, it is beginning to make less financial sense for them to ship their products here from China.

    • Claire M SHS

      I agree with moving more jobs to the US from other countries. This would benefit many people looking for low-wage jobs because it would open up so many job opportunities. However, it will be difficult to persuade companies to move to the US because labor can be done for cheaper in other countries. This it is also a decision up to the company, but I think it would be a great solution if many companies switched to manufacturing their product in the US.

  • Jordan H.

    There are many thing we can do to help those in poverty but they all
    need to be done in conjunction, but in an efficient and effective way.

  • Adrian A.

    The government should provide the people who suffer from poverty higher minimum wages, because some jobs make you work long hours and don’t get any benefits with it

    • MS SHS

      There should be a government standard for all jobs, including low-income jobs. Not letting people take sick days is unjust, and needs to be changed. When people get sick, its not a personal decision, so they should still get paid. Not getting paid, or even getting fired from taking a sick day is not fair to those who are struggling with their income.

  • Anthony N.

    Give the poor people money.

  • Matt M

    The United States should give people who suffer from poverty more opportunities to make money, instead of less.

  • Simon G.

    We should raise the minimum wage because it can no longer support a single parent and their children, and we should also give some sort of sick day pay so that they aren’t losing jobs over having to take care of their family.

    • Erin O

      In order to raise the minimum wage we would have to raise the prices of goods that low wage jobs provide, therefore making the cost of living higher as well (according to The New Yorker “The Pay is too Damn Low”). So for the minimum wage to be raised efficiently the companies themselves are going to have to accept a lower payout. But I agree that the workers should be entitled to some form of sick day pay.

      • CW SHS

        I understand how raising the minimum wage seems like an easy fix, but it also gives unskilled workers disincentives to work hard. They know that they have to be paid a certain amount so they wouldn’t have to do their job as well as they would have with a lower wage with the need and room for a raise.

        • Michelle SHS

          I agree and disagree with this. I disagree with the fact that raising pay would make low wage workers do a worse job, because if their pay is raised then they will in turn be able to provide more for their families and live a more stable life. Wouldn’t this improved lifestyle be an incentive to do whatever it takes to keep the pay which provides it? I think it would make low wage workers work just as hard if not harder. However I don’t disagree that a bonus system is necessary. First the minimum wage needs to be raised a little bit to do something for these struggling families, and then good opportunities for raises should follow. The government should also make new regulations to make sure companies have a fair and substantial bonus system.

      • MS SHS

        The companies should be able to accept a lower payout, they don’t need to have major profits while there are people who cant even support their family. By raising minimum wage, this would allow more people to support their families in a better way. The real solution is creating and bringing jobs to America. Many people struggle to find jobs, so if more were created, more people could come out of poverty.

        • SHS NN

          A higher minimum wage will not only benefit the lives of these low-wage workers, but also increase sales for the low-wage industries.
          I agree that raising the minimum wage for workers is a good idea. This will cause companies to raise the retail prices. I understand how it makes sense that these raised prices would turn consumers off. But, if low-wage workers make up a majority of the population and we raise minimum wage, more people would have an increased income and therefore have more money to spend. This frees up most of the lower class to purchase items. I think that with more money, low-wage workers will buy more, balancing out or outdoing the negative impacts of raised prices. This will cause an increase in overall sales.

          • Tony P.

            Yes, but there is a down side to raising the minimum wage. As Erin O said, it would cause the prices of the goods and services provided by the business to be raised. Then, after all the prices are raised, the people earning minimum wage would need MORE money, so we would make it higher, then prices would increase, and it would happen over and over again. Next thing you know it, you are paying $20 for a candy bar thanks to inflation. I think the only way we could get people out of poverty would be to as MS HSH said, would be to limit the amount of profit companies make. That way, there would be a buffer to raise the payout to the workers, and the prices would be the same. Let’s be honest, companies don’t need to make a 150% profit.

    • MV SHS

      I agree that we do need to make minimum wage higher for workers, but if we do so then that means the prices of goods and merchandise that this particular company is selling has to be raised with it. This then causes company’s to be spending more money on the workers, and since the prices are raised, will people still buy as frequently as they used to? This could damage the companies overall profit and possibly put some out of business if not enough items are sold. Yes, it would be nice for workers to get paid more to support their families in these hard times, but people need to look at the bigger picture and the final outcome.

    • Veanna P.

      I also agree to this, but doing so takes a lot and people will not like the fact that because of it everything goes up in prices. People will lose jobs because owners will not have the money to pay all their workers a higher amount. It is a good solution to some but it takes quite a lot.

  • winston

    hi simon hi Adrian hi everyone

  • Skylee&Hayden

    We should raise minimum wage and give more opportunities to those who
    are struggling so eventually there will not be as many struggling
    people. Spread the love man. We can spare some of our material items because food and love is all we need. #hippyadviceofskyleelutes

    • Guest

      wrong lol just kidding 🙂

  • Jamie G

    The government needs to raise the minimum wage in America, because it is clearly not high enough for someone to thrive and be successful off of. As poverty in America is increasing, it seems like the help people are receiving is decreasing. More government programs need to be created that can help the lower-class. They work the longest and toughest hours and receive the worst pay and the least support. Those who are struggling deserve government aid and need more opportunities to be successful.

    • DN SHS

      I agree with you that the government needs to provide aid, but raising the minimum wage is not the answer. Basic economics prove that any profit-maximizing firm (basically all businesses) when faced with an increased minimum-wage, would just lower their demand for labor. With a higher minimum-wage, comes higher unemployment among lower class citizens. Minimum wage has actually been proven to hurt the poor rather than help. To see a graph of what it would look like if we did raise the minimum wage, go to

    • BRYANAD123

      i agree!!!

  • Andrew Johnson

    Government funding should be used to help and support people from low-income families. There should also be more opportunities to allow low-income people to hold jobs with good pay and wages. By doing this, the United States can reduce the unemployment rate in the country.

  • Christopher Boyd

    I think the government should help fund people that get low income. It is just not right that some people have everything they would ever what and some people can’t even pay for food. This is what I feel about low income families.

  • jazzywazzy

    we should adress poverty in america by giving free money out to everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BRYANAD123

    We need to donate money to / raise funds for organizations working to eradicate poverty!!!!!!!!

  • BRYANAD123

    Improve government capacity to provide universal access to essential goods and services, including potable water, affordable food, primary health care, education, housing and other social services!!!

  • BRYANAD123

    Broaden access to education and technology among marginalized groups, and especially among girls and women.

  • BRYANAD123

    Share the benefits of economic growth through an emphasis on more widespread employment.

  • BRYANAD123

    It is important to agree about how different family sizes are dealt with. One option is to develop a different threshold for each family size. An alternative option, used in both the United States and Europe, is to develop a threshold based on a modal family size and then calculate the threshold for other-sized families using an equivalence scale that determines the relative income level needed to keep families of different sizes at the same standard of living.

  • BRYANAD123

    Give the less fortunate something to start with and grow from.

  • BRYANAD123

    Make sure that there are no homeless people by giving them places to live.

    • AC SHS

      I agree. By giving the homeless a place to live they then have something that they can protect. It will create a more stable life for them and improve their overall quality of life as well.

  • BRYANAD123

    promote better schools, families and churches.

  • BRYANAD123

    Reduce the high costs of being poor and increase access to financial services.

  • BRYANAD123

    Create a clear path to higher education

  • BRYANAD123

    Address food insecurity and nutrition-related health problems

  • BRYANAD123

    Promote unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act

  • BRYANAD123

    Address the many issues connected with incarceration and its effects on communities

  • BRYANAD123

    Increase the wages of low skill labor or government redistribution policies.

  • BRYANAD123

    redistribute wealth

  • BRYANAD123

    Population control. Without this, nothing will work on a permanent basis.

    • McKinlay SHS

      I agree. I think that people who are below the poverty line should also be careful about how many children they are having because they cannot support for their children, giving them a bad life.

  • BRYANAD123


    • AC SHS

      In my opinion this is not the solution at all. I believe that raising the minimum wage will destroy many jobs for certain Americans. Jobs will disappear because businesses will want to hire people with more skill or experience. Those with less education and lower skill level will suffer the most. Therefore, raising the minimum wage to 10 dollars an hour will not benefit America.

      • BRYANAD123

        That is where you are wrong AC SHS….
        raising the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour will benefit the lower class. It will not “destroy” any jobs for “certain Americans” and jobs will not “disappear.” This will simply raise the baseline for lower income/skill set individuals. The longterm hope is for this group of people to then boost economic development by spending additional dollars within their communities. This would hopefully bridge the wage gap to make a “better” more equal America.

  • BRYANAD123

    create more organizations that will help to reduce poverty

  • BRYANAD123

    provide more options of cheaper education

  • BRYANAD123

    Enabling people to have fewer children contributes to upward mobility and helps to stimulate development.

  • BRYANAD123

    As women become more educated, they tend to have fewer children, and participate more fully in the labour market.

  • kevin garcia

    The US should raise the minimum wage for it to support a family with no mom or dad and have a curtain number of sick days

  • rachel

    The minimum wage needs to be raised and benefits for low income jobs need to be adjusted because without it, there is no room for economic mobility. It is not fair for the children of poor, low-wage workers to be born into the same unchangeable fate. America is built on the idea that one can go from rags to riches with hard work, but that idea is not true right now. In order for America to become more equal when it comes to money, the education system also needs to be improved, especially for poor and lower middle class children. Americans need to help people who need it, mostly because it is not fair for their children to have no opportunities.

    • kateo

      I agree with the part about the children of the poor. If 42 percent of poor kids born into poverty remain in poverty for their entire lifetimes, clearly they are part of the issue. If the government, or even just everyday people focus on the kids, the root of the problem, the trend will stop. Of course it will take time for the effects to be reversed, but it can be done. Sometimes children just need to step out of the shadow of their parents, and a little bit of help can go a long way.

  • EP_sea

    Improving the welfare system is a good next step to limiting poverty.
    However, the government needs to better structure the utilization and true demand of welfare. It is unjust that more commonly, people are using welfare for countless things other than what it is intended for. For instance, a woman needing food stamps shouldn’t be buying designer handbags and claiming that she has a lack of government support. Individuals like these are taking away from the well-being and economic opportunities of those who truly need it. Welfare can be very beneficial, however, the government needs to ensure that its recipients are living within their means.

  • Steven G.

    I agree that something needs to be done to assist those living in poverty, especially the “working poor.” The idea of raising the minimum wage is a sensitive topic due to the unstable nature of the increased cost of goods and services as a result of said wage increase. The strengthening of welfare programs and amount of aid provided to these individuals is an option that may be beneficial. However, like the minimum wage scenario, there are pros and cons to strengthening these programs. On one hand the increased benefit from increased funds will prove to be beneficial to its recipients. On the other hand, by providing too much aid to those in need will deter them from working and bettering themselves. My point, the U.S. Government should increase the amount of funds that are implemented in these federal aid programs. Unfortunately, the amount that is supplied must not be too high as to discourage those from actually working and being productive. Perhaps the amout of aid will be greater for the “working poor” and those unemployed due to disabilities or other preexisting conditions, and less for those unemployed and have been collecting unemployment for over-extended periods of time.

  • Lily T

    It is clear that something needs to be done over the huge amounts of poverty in the United States, but is raising minimum wage really the answer? It may be part of a solution, but there are more things to be considered. With higher minimum wage comes higher costs of goods. Ever wonder why products are so cheap at Wal Mart? Check out how much they pay their employees. However, they do this in the name of business, and judging by previous actions of Wal Mart specifically and other companies like it, having the company earn less in order to pay workers more is not in the agenda. I think that education is a topic for exploration. We need to find a way to get the 40% that are born and raised in poverty and stay there for the rest of their lives out. Raising minimum wage will increase their quality of life somewhat, but education is truly a more effective way to get them above the poverty line and into working middle class jobs. Maybe creating cheaper more flexible online college programs? There are higher jobs out there, people just need the means to get to them. Again, just food for thought

  • Sarah M (SHS)

    New jobs should be created or brought back to the United States. By doing this more people will have a source of income that is eventually disposable, which can be spent on goods and services, therefore stimulating the economy. If more businesses are making more money, they will hire more people and pay these employees higher wages. This cycle will repeat itself and help to eliminate poverty in the United States.

    • Erin O

      If we started to bring jobs back to the United States, it would cost more to create the products that our currently being made overseas. This in turn would raise the product prices and increase the cost of living which would hurt the low wage workers. So in order to help close the gap between the wealthy and poor, as well as bring jobs back to the US, we must also raise the minimum wage and implement laws that makes companies and businesses pay their workers if they need to take a leave of absence for personal matters.

  • anonymous


  • Maame

    Minimum wage should be increased legally in hopes of supporting breadwinners who already have a burden on themselves. The upper class must also find it within themselves to help out even in the smallest way possible; tipping extra, offering help and so on. We can not rely on the government to help eradicate poverty, we must, together, help each other get rid of this menace.

    Furthermore, schools should include studies on the effects of dropping out to allow students visualize the lives they pave for themselves upon quitting school.

  • Emma SHS

    In my opinion, the government only has up to a certain extent in which it can regulate poverty, especially when it comes to business. Yes, there are a few moral standards they have to set such as minimum wage and working hours, but other than that they shouldn’t be man handling corporations. How can society trust a government to make decisions effecting the entire country when their best efforts lead to a government shutdown? The average big business owner is far more intelligent then the average politician; therefore, society should employ the trickle-down theory. They should continue to leave the power in businessmen’s hands rather than the government. After all, poverty can be fixed by one thing only, jobs. Jobs which are created by none other than business owners.

    • MS SHS

      I agree that jobs need to be created in order to help poverty. If there are more jobs, there will be more opportunities for struggling people to gain money in order to better support their families. The government should make a higher minimum wage and standard benefits for all jobs.

  • McKinlay SHS

    In my opinion, minimum wage most definitely needs to be raised. Minimum wage is below the poverty line currently, therefor, people that have a minimum wage job are barely making enough money to get by. If the minimum wage were raised, more people would be above the poverty line, and they would be able to live a better life. According to this article, children living with an atmosphere where there is an extremely low income are dropping out of school and not caring about their future. Raising the minimum wage would create a better environment for these children, and would create a better future for our world. If more families are below the poverty line, that means more children are dropping out of school, and will as well be below the poverty line when they are elders trying to make a living for themselves. RAISE MINIMUM WAGE!!!!

    • AC SHS

      In my opinion there are many problems with raising the minimum wage. I believe that it will be harder for the poor people in society to actually find jobs if the minimum wage is raised. Businesses will most likely have to either fire people or hire others with more experience. The poorer people with less experience will then have to search for different jobs. Raising the minimum wage could definitely do some damage to the poorest of people in America.

      • McKinlay SHS

        What if they just added a few dollars to the pay checks that people in minimum wage jobs are receiving? Then they wouldn’t have to find jobs because they would already have them. People with more experience are going to already have jobs anyways

        • AC SHS

          Certain businesses will not have enough profit to ” add a few dollars to the pay checks”. Therefore, the businesses will cut down on the number of employees they have. Those employees that will be laid off are the poorest in America and will suffer the most.

  • CW SHS

    The negative income tax proposal would have every family report its income to the government, and high-income families would pay a tax on their incomes and low-income families would receive a subsidy. This provides support to poor families solely on the basis of their income, and not on the basis corresponding with need. This should be initiated to reduce poverty rates because the benefits of not distorting market prices far outweigh the disadvantage of paying to regulate and supervise the system.

  • Jeremiah Conners

    I Agree, The government should provide the people who suffer from poverty higher minimum and also gives unskilled workers disincentives to work hard. They know that they have to be paid a certain amount so they wouldn’t have to do their job as well as they would have with a lower wage with the need and room for a raise.

  • eli.park

    I think the US should do something to help the poor.The united states should open there heart do a degree and help the people with little to no money. Improving the welfare system is a good next step to limiting poverty.They should give unemployed workers a chance to work hard and to earn a little something.

  • Jacky

    I think the US should raises the minimum wage to at least 9 dollars. If you looked at the resources up there, you will find out in 1966, the minimum wage is actually $9.02 which is almost 20% higher than today’s minimum wage. For people who are way below the poverty line, we should have a department to help them to find a job. The US could spend a little more money on company like Food Bank. Those companies support poor families to maintain their daily life, so the poor families can use their extra money on medication or some other problem they are having. For people who are close to leave the poverty line, the US could support them by lower their tax by a tiny bit.

  • Sandy Evsanaa

    I believe that not only is it the responsibility of the government, but it’s also the responsibility of the American people. If one were to go to Asia and compare the two societies, the American society is more individualistic. People care more about themselves than other people, which I believe is one of the reasons why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    We also have a high corruption rate compared to countries like Switzerland and Sweden (which have the lowest rate of poverty in the world). And education also plays a big factor in this. The most educated also form a big portion of our population, and they’re more likely to live below the poverty line.

    • Erin O

      We can put laws in place to try to make the wages more fair but it would be almost impossible to change the ideas and beliefs of the people as a whole. It is harder to change societies viewpoint to make people care more for each other than it would be to pass laws that would raise the minimum wage. Also, the government should pass a law stating that all major cities that are facing bankruptcy (such as Detroit) would have to change their school curriculums to ones that include place-and community-based education. By doing this, we would be focusing on creating a better generation that is smarter and more connected with society, therefore they become more connected with others and hopefully this would help with making the gap of wealth decrease.

  • Jenedra Walker

    the minimum wage should be raised because people are having a hard time supporting their families. Also they should at least get some type of sick pay so they don’t loose their jobs for no reason. If their trying to take care of their sick children or spouse.

  • Caitlyn

    @KQEDedspaceI think that people should give the people in poverty an opportunity to help themselves, but it is hard because people may not really need it or take advantage #DoNowPoverty

  • Roemello

    Make government aid programs only Available for a year per person, thus people have to stay in school in order to get a college degree Giving Order to attain the skills needed to work in a higher paying job. Also raise wages of police officer with the money saved from government aid, to deal with increased crime rates. Also reparations could fix the economy #Dave Chappelle

  • EB shs

    It’s obvious that the popular vote to help out the low-wage workers is to raise minimum wage. But with raising wages comes raising the prices of items. This seems pretty counteractive. What we really need to do is get the children, the ones that are born into poverty, out of it. Because these kids grow up in an environment where they think being successful is not an option, they wont make it past the poverty line. We need begin at the core of the problem by providing a clear education path for the kids. With a decent education program comes many more opportunities which in the long run means more jobs.


    Many of us have been suggesting raising minimum wage. However, there are a few problems with this tactic. There will a rise in many of the goods in stores that the lower class depend on such as Walmart and Target. These companies will be forced to raise the wages of their workers, though they will not be forced to keep their prices the same. If the companies pay more for their workers and don’t raise the prices of their goods, the most likely effect will be a decline in profit margin. This decline in profit will cause the company not only to lose money in the selling portion of their sales, but their stock prices will also lower because of this. These companies are not willing to regress the slightest it seems from their current agenda even to help many of their own customers who are in need. If the minimum wage was raised there would have to be legislation passed that would help regulate the prices on goods. Maybe a ratio should be created for goods that are necessary for life such as water, meat, fruit, etc. This ratio would keep the prices for these goods in check based on the minimum wage, each one of these goods would only be able to take up so much of the average minimum wage worker’s weekly paycheck. Again, however we face the problem of the large corporations that would be harmed by legislation like this. If any significant long term or short term progress is hope to be made we muse be on the same page as large powerful retailers or else all of our efforts will be lessened in effectiveness or will have no effect at all in some cases.

    • Justin B.

      I agree with CHUCK SHS in that increasing minimum wage will have negative
      consequences. I also believe that the increase of minimum wage will cause more
      substance abuse, as many still use job money to buy illicit chemicals. An
      increase in minimum wage will only encourage them in continuing their
      purchases. In addition, I believe that the government needs to take a bigger
      role in helping those who are in poverty. The number of people who are in the
      lower class affects the nation as a whole, so this is, in a way, the government’s
      responsibility. The government can assist people in the lower class by various
      means including creating soup kitchens, providing more jobs, creating more
      shelters, and educating some of the less fortunate. This might help in decreasing poverty by directly helping those in need.

  • Dimitri

    There is no easy way to solve poverty in the United states, the idea contributed about raising the minimum wage to normal living standards would be un-achievable. There is no way that a company who’s purpose is to make money spend more on their employees that they have now. This would in turn create more poverty, by decreasing the amount of jobs that are available and raising the price of goods to balance the increase in wage, in addition it would make those people laid off more reliant on the government thus increasing taxes on the next class up (lower middle and middle class families).

  • Ellie Teare

    In order to help our citizens and improve our economy we should raise the minimum wage so that people can have the opportunity to fix their lives and support their families. This will help more than just people in poverty, it will set an example for the next generation and keep them on track so they can have a good life. I also thought it was interesting that in the info graphic it said that, for the last three years, poverty rates have been at their highest since the early 1900’s.

  • CD SHS

    There are definitely a few changes we can make in order to
    reduce poverty in America
    and help those in poverty to get out. We can begin to address this problem by helping
    the children of parents who have low wage jobs. By getting these kids involved
    in free or low cost preschool, we can ensure that they can be given learning
    opportunities to help them become better educated. Providing them with an
    active learning environment can also be incorporated in their household. We can
    provide parents, including single moms, with instruction and mentoring on parenting
    to help them contribute to their child’s learning outside of school. Doing this,
    will better educate and prepare children so that they can attain higher level, better
    paying jobs. We can also help parents by providing them with free or low cost
    childcare for their kids before and after school. Then, instead of spending their
    money on childcare, they can put their money towards other family needs such as
    nutritious food and a safe shelter.

  • Abby SHS

    To be honest, poverty isn’t something I have thought much about until this year. After spending time in Africa, it was difficult to come back and see what America considers to be poverty. However, I understand that everyone needs help sometimes and the struggles that the impoverished go through in America are indeed very challenging. The problem with simply raising minimum wage is that it really doesn’t fix very many of the problems, and as many people have already mentioned it could simply cause inflation.Every company has different price margins, some pay their employees a very fair amount compared to the profit they are making, while others keep so much for themselves while their workers are struggling to make ends meet. This is an example of how raising minimum wage would have a negative effect, because the company that is being fair would get punished along with the unfair company. I believe that the solution is not in the hands of the government, but the employers. They are the ones who have the power to determine how their workers are treated. Americans need to stop pressuring the government to pass new laws and make new policies, but rather start pressuring employers to create a better working environment. A good employer should care about the well being of their employees because their the ones who interact with costumers and represent the company name. A good employer should know their employees by name, they should give them bathroom breaks, they should allow them a certain amount of sick days, and they should be understanding when emergencies happen. More effort from the citizens should be spent on making sure that all companies have this standard. The consumers voice is a strong one, and I believe it could make more of an impact than the governments strong regulations.

  • Nora M.

    It would be simple to say that in order to reduce poverty in the U.S., we need to raise the minimum wage of workers. But it’s not as easy as that. The extra money workers earned would undoubtedly go to the good cause of raising their families and sending them to a good college, however the extra money they earn can’t just appear out of nowhere. As I saw on the little infographic linked above, between 2009 and 2012 there was an increase in income for everybody, which is good, right? Yes, but when you look closer you’ll find the income increase for the bottom 99% earners in America only gained a 0.4% income increase, while the top 1% of earners gained a 31.4% gain in income. So the rich get richer and the poor get an extremely small bit richer, but not enough to make any difference. To me (and hopefully all of you out there) that’s not what we’re supposed to be doingg?!?! We should be giving that income increase all to those who are in poverty, or very nearly are.
    Another thing we should think about is making college education less expensive. There should be equal opportunities for all ranges of people regarding their income. I know that’s what educational scholarships are for, but not every kid can qualify for those scholarships.

  • TC SHS

    To fix the poverty problem in the U.S., the government has four programs in effect, minimum-wage laws, welfare, negative income tax, and in-kind transfers. The most effective one would be the in-kind transfers. This program gives the necessities for a family who can’t afford many things; food, healthcare, and shelter. Instead of the government just providing a check, like negative income tax, and hope they spend it on necessities not wants, In-kind transfers directly provides their needs for them. In-Kind transfers also provides an incentive for low-income families to work because they don’t have extra money from a check anymore. So they work to provide money for their kids education and whatever else they want to spend it on. And when more people are spending money the economy gets better, and wealth is spread.

  • emma shs

    The minimum wage needs to be increased, because quite frankly, inflation has risen too high for minimum wage workers to survive from their earnings. Even working multiple minimum wage jobs, aside from your quality of life drastically decreasing, still wouldn’t provide enough money to live a prosperous lifestyle. Raising the minimum wage would indeed make some products rise in price, but the overall benefits for the minimum wage workers would outweigh the slight raise in cost.

  • CW SHS

    There are other ways to reduce the poverty instead of simply raising minimum wage. In-kind transfers, in my opinion, would be one of the better solutions. The in-kind transfers require the government or private charities to provide the poor with some of the goods and services they need to raise their living standards, instead of the use of cash. These may include food stamps, direct payments of housing, and Medicaid. There is a great advantage in this program that the receivers of the transfers are much more likely they will use the aid in the way it is
    intended. This reduces the risk of the families spending the transfers on non-necessities such as drugs or alcohol. Medicaid may give them a higher
    incentive to care for their health as well because it is already covered. In-kind transfers should be used to limit irrational spending and also increase the incentives for personal care.

  • Erin O

    I think people should recieve lower pay checks from the government if they are unemployed and in turn the government should focus on creating better jobs that are more accessible to the poor and low wage workers. By providing better middle class jobs we could close the huge gap that has formed between the poor and wealthy. Also, by creating more jobs and providing less to the unemployed, it would encourage them to go out and find jobs instead of just being supported by the government.

  • Henry Zhu

    It’s so wrong that the minimum wage for a single parent in a family of three still leaves the family 3,000 dollars below the poverty line. The whole point of having a minimum wage is so that families make enough for a living, and don’t have to live in very bad conditions. America needs to tax the people at the top a lot more, and give it back to the rest of the people. Some people may argue that by taxing the rich you are taking away jobs, but you can also argue that by giving money to the middle and lower classes you are increasing consumption which will improve the economy and bring it back up to the levels it should be at. I think the government should tax the rich a lot more, and then return the money to the nation through education funding. Education is the core of society, and if everybody is well educated then everybody will naturally have well paying jobs and there will be more wage equality. Also, if our country doesn’t start spending more on education we will far very far behind other countries, and we will no longer have the most powerful economy in the world. So America should tax the rich and use the money to fund education.

  • Devin H.

    Stopping or even reducing poverty in America is highly unlikely.
    One solution the might possibly help a little is rising minimum wage. This
    solution would immensely help fight the problem because it would allow families
    to get off their feet and stay out poverty. As stated in the article above, 42%
    of children born into poverty will remain in poverty in their whole lifetime,
    so getting them out of poverty initially would really help them out. But this
    solution is very unrealistic because this money to increase minimum wage cannot
    be found. As Robert Reich suggested in the video, the few higher class citizens
    could pay more taxes in order to help, but they, like many other people would
    not want to.

  • Kyle Lintao

    It is horrible to see how opposite we are, as a country, to how we are labeled. This is supposedly a country with “equal rights” but these rights are only given to the upper class citizens. The topic of inequality is very relatable. Weather it be about inequality as a person or as a people, the United States should open its negligent eyes to the people in the lower and middle class. The fact that some people in the US are getting a higher education due to money is very disappointing. It is survival of the richest. If your parents are not wealthy enough to pay for an education to enhance what you want to do in life, then you can’t do it. There are plenty of open jobs, and many people want them. The only obstacle in their way is money. The Economy could prosper, but there are too many ignorant high class citizens to pay attention to the lower class.

  • TS SHS

    The government needs to step up and start helping out the
    lower class citizens. It has been proven that with today’s current minimum
    wage, $7.25 per hour, people cannot financially support themselves. This
    terribly low amount of pay also plays a role in the motivation of the workers.
    If the minimum wage throughout the United States rose by even slight amounts,
    workers would come to their workplace with a much better attitude knowing that
    they know they can afford their next meal or have a place to call home. To keep
    low-wage employers loyal and dedicated to their work, I believe that the
    government should make large corporations such as Wal-Mart offer incentives to
    their hard-working employees, such as increased pay for certain tasks that they
    complete or for perfect attendance throughout the month. Many of these
    well-known companies already make a great amount of money; they should be able
    to afford to better serve their hard-working employees. With these incentives,
    low-wage workers would have to put in their best effort to earn their money
    beyond their minimum wage, which ends up benefitting the company as well.
    Overall, America’s poverty rates would end up being much less if the government
    raised the minimum wage slightly and made big companies offer incentives to
    their workers so that they can have the ability to earn more money if they are
    proven to be loyal.

  • Jamie Golden

    While it is obvious something needs to be done about the poverty rate in the U.S., the common suggestions of increasing minimum wage and increasing welfare programs both have huge flaws. Increasing minimum wage would lead to a huge increase in unemployment, which means even though some may benefit, many would also be hurt tremendously. With an increase in welfare, we would eliminate many of the problems faced in poverty, but it would also decrease any incentive to work for the lower class who’d naturally choose to continue taking advantage of what they are given without doing anything to earn it. I feel as though the best possible solution would be the implementation of a negative income tax that would help out those in poverty without decreasing work incentive, as the more they earn, the more they come out with in the end. This is the safest method for eliminating poverty, and possibly the most effective, so to me it seems like a step that should unquestionably be taken in America’s fight against poverty.

  • Gabriel Llamas

    I think minium wage should be raised especally in the food serving industry. I think people should be paid more becuase they obviously aren’t making enough money to support themsevles or their families. i agree with the statement in the video that says the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer.

  • Adam Orla-Bukowski

    The reason this cycle of poverty still affects our country, is mostly due to the attention it is getting from the government. By paying attention, and enacting measures to protect and help the poor, they would live better lives, and the economy would improve. An excellent place to begin doing this is in the food industry. Most of the people who work at say, McDonalds, earn about 20 thousand dollars a year. Yet, the CEO and other high ranking officials earn about 20 million dollars a year. This massive wage gap doesn’t make sense to me. Instead of taxing big businesses, force them to increase wages. That way, the company can give the money to its workers, and still pay the same amount if they were paying the government. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  • Eliz M SHS

    There’s no question that the government needs to raise minimum wage and create more programs that benefit those who are currently living in poverty. These low-wage workers work too hard for too long and deserve to earn more money because of it. However, I believe that minimum wage should be raised in increments so many of the locally owned, small businesses where these low-wage workers are employed, can afford to pay a higher minimum wage, which will also help to prevent the country from lapsing back into recession. As far as the government programs go, one of their main focuses should be to help the children who are currently living in poverty and making them realize that it’s important to have a positive outlook on life, which will help them realize that they have a chance at a poverty-free life. These government programs should also express to these children how important it is to have an education and that research shows that people who’ve attended college have higher paying jobs than those who haven’t. As stated above, 42% of all children in the United States who grow up in poverty stricken homes remain in poverty for the rest of their lives. This is a mind blowing statistic, one that needs to be lowered substantially, and at this point in time, that can only be done if the government is willing to help those in need.

  • Billy C.

    I agree with Henry Zhu that education is the core of society. Currently I’m reading a book called Our America all about two boys and their experiences of the harsh conditions in the ghetto. One of the boys, LeAlan Jones, was very motivated to survive and leave the ghetto that he eventually went to college and eventually took a crack at both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The point is that the government should reinforce the education that people in poverty receive so that people can work to become skilled workers and acquire higher wage jobs. Education in impoverished areas should not impoverished as it would simply perpetuate the poverty in said area.

    Also I don’t necessarily think that raising the minimum wage is a good solution as it may consequently raise the prices of services and businesses that hire these workers so they can maintain the same profit margin. The federal minimum wage was actually increased in 2009 when the poverty rate was about 14.3 and yet we’re faced with the same problem 4 years later.
    Our America – David Isay, Lloyd Newman, LeAlan Jones.
    And some insightful friends.

    • Michelle SHS

      I agree with Sophia and Billy. Right now I am reading Nickel and Dimed in English. Its about a highly qualified writer who goes undercover as a low age worker at various jobs across the country. It is incredible the many challenges that she and her coworkers encounter throughout the book. Since she does have many advantages over the actual low wage worker, she is often times better off in her living situations than her coworkers. But even then the conditions in which she describes are far from anything any of us would desire. Many of her coworkers live in cars, crappy apartments in dangerous neighborhoods, and have kids on top of it all. Like Sophia said, it is completely inhumane to allow people to live like this. It needs to be fixed somehow and fast. I agree that minimum wage does need to be raised, but the question is how? With the crazy inflation rates over the past decade, the price of everything has skyrocketed (gas being one of the biggest ones). I want the government to raise minimum wage asap, but If the government were to raise it right now the price of goods would inflate even more and that would cause more problems. I hope that the government can cut spending and bring down inflation so that this can happen.

  • Sophia Moore

    As Andy Warner explained in his excellent infographic, the minimum wage today simply does not make any sense. Minimum wage should be a number reasonable enough to humanely support a family and not toss millions into poverty. By slowly increasing the minimum wage a bit every year, I think that the government would be able to adjust the system enough to support more families. In addition to this, I think that something definitely needs to be done about the lack of sick days available to workers. It is completely ridiculous someone would lose their job because they had to stay home one day and take care of a family member.
    The US government was built on the ideas of John Locke, a prominent political scientist during the enlightenment. He believed that the sole purpose of a government was to protect the natural right of its people: life, liberty and property. The founding fathers changed the last one to the pursuit of happiness, but the situation of poverty right now still opposes the ideas that our country was built on. We pay taxes to the government and reside our trust in them to protect us and our natural rights, while they leave 15% of our population, 46.5 million citizens, in poverty. There are so many things wrong with that. If you look into history, the economy has always bounced back in some way and I do not doubt it will again, but it looks like there needs to be more change than that this time.

  • jiahao S

    i think the United States government should step up and do something to the poor, they can create more programs as well as community service or after school activities, also i think that the U.S. should raises the minimum wage and give people who suffer from poverty more opportunities to make money, instead of less.

  • Jake O.

    I believe that what Robert Reich is saying is true and I agree with the message that he is sending. What he didn’t say in the video is what we should do about it. The United States Government needs to give the poor and lower middle class more opportunities to make money.

    Education is one of the most important things in society, and the way the current education system is set up there is very little opportunity for people in poverty or the lower middle class to get a good education. This is one of the biggest reasons why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rich people have all the opportunities because they can afford them. The system is set up backwards in a way that is very self destructive.

  • Camille

    I think that as human being we have the capability to do almost anything we set our minds to, and so individuals born into poverty can definitely make it out of that bad situation, but with that being said I think that the government’s number one priority should be the people suffering! It’s the government’s job to help these people and not leave it up to individual motivation.They should be setting up poor families to have more opportunities, a higher income, and more benefits for single mothers. It is absolutely ridiculous to have minimum wage workers being payed less than they can live and support a family off of. Most of the people who work minimum wage jobs are only working there because no one else will higher them with their low skill set and poor education, which isn’t even there fault because in the impoverished areas they live in didn’t offer them very valuable education. So many of the people suffering because of poverty did not put themselves in that situation, and it is just so hard to get out of. I liked the guy from the video, and from the info graphic poverty seems to be an on going problem, but hopefully that can change.

  • Ryan Kelley-Cahill

    The minimum wage should be raised to meet the standards of inflation. With the economy being the way it is, the standard of living is always costing more. This means that people need to be making more money to be paying for the same amount of stuff they could of had a couple years ago. Simply paying people more isn’t enough. We need to be creating sufficient programs that are designed to help people get back up and into the working world. Our society is geared toward hiring younger people or those with lots of experience. It is very hard to get back up on your feet if you’ve been knocked down for a little while. There needs to be support tools to help those people get back up and live decent lives! These are some of the steps we need to take to reach our goal.

  • Guest

    I agree with Henry Zhu that education is the core of our society and how we need to step it up or we will no longer be the most powerful economy in the world. However, like what Michelle Asha Cooper said in her commentary that although there are many impoverished young adults that break the cycle they still do get the higher paying jobs despite the multiple degrees that the college graduates hold. This being said, I somewhat doubt education to be of much help. Another way to help those in poverty is to increase the competition between companies. Right now our economy has not flourished but nor has it decreased. By increasing competition between companies more workers would be needed meaning less people would be jobless. Another way to put it is that the bosses of these big companies are lazy. they use machines rather than humans resulting in many people going jobless. However, once competition rises again the companies would try to reach for the top meaning they would need more people to manage their companies thus creating more jobs.
    Another thing that can supposedly help with those in poverty is to increase the minimum wage. Like what Andy Warner said in his infographic the amount of people in poverty has not decreased, but actually it has stayed the same. I agree that by increasing the minimum wage it can help the situation at hand, but there is always a con that comes with a pro. As Michelle SHS explained in her comment by increasing minimum wage the price of merchandises will also rise. This could lead to many problems including even more people in poverty because they cannot afford the price of the merchandises. Anyhow, if the government does find a way to increase the minimum without drastically increasing the product price then this could be a solution to help those in poverty.
    Something else that I would like to touch on is that when Henry said we should tax the rich more I do agree with this thought, but one thing I’m unsure of is where and who does the money actually go to. If it goes to education will it actually reach the students and provide better education or will it be deducted until only a small amount is left. When we make the rich pay more we are not 100% positive of where this money goes. It could even go into paying off our debt to other countries before coming to us. If we do make the rich pay more then we need to make sure that the money actually goes into funding education and not something else.
    So far there are a few suggestions on how to decrease or stop poverty, but all of these have their pros and cons. Hopefully, the government will find a solution as soon as possible.


  • Megan L

    I agree with Henry Zhu that education is the core of our society and how we need to step it up or we will no longer be the most powerful economy in the world. However, like what Michelle Asha Cooper said in her commentary that although there are many impoverished young adults that break the cycle they still do get the higher paying jobs despite the multiple degrees that the college graduates hold. This being said, I somewhat doubt education to be of much help. Another way to help those in poverty is to increase the competition between companies. Right now our economy has not flourished but nor has it decreased. By increasing competition between companies more workers would be needed meaning less people would be jobless. Another way to put it is that the bosses of these big companies are lazy. they use machines rather than humans resulting in many people going jobless. However, once competition rises again the companies would try to reach for the top meaning they would need more people to manage their companies thus creating more jobs.

    Another thing that can supposedly help with those in poverty is to increase the minimum wage. Like what Andy Warner said in his infographic the amount of people in poverty has not decreased, but actually it has stayed the same. I agree that by increasing the minimum wage it can help the situation at hand, but there is always a con that comes with a pro. As Michelle SHS explained in her comment by increasing minimum wage the price of merchandises will also rise. This could lead to many problems including even more people in poverty because they cannot afford the price of the merchandises. Anyhow, if the government does find a way to increase the minimum without drastically increasing the product price then this could be a solution to help those in poverty.

    Something else that I would like to touch on is that when Henry said we should tax the rich more I do agree with this thought, but one thing I’m unsure of is where and who does the money actually go to. If it goes to education will it actually reach the students and provide better education or will it be deducted until only a small amount is left. When we make the rich pay more we are not 100% positive of where this money goes. It could even go into paying off our debt to other countries before coming to us. If we do make the rich pay more then we need to make sure that the money actually goes into funding education and not something else.

    So far there are a few suggestions on how to decrease or stop poverty, but all of these have their pros and cons. Hopefully, the government will find a solution as soon as possible.


  • Clare R

    It seems that poverty has always been a problem, and it probably will still be around for a long time. 15% of the US population is a lot of people. 46 million Americans are barely able to support themselves and their families, yet for some reason not much has been going on to fix this. As the informative infographic by Andy Warner said, if someone works the average working year without leave, the minimum wage still doesn’t put them above the poverty line. So what can the US do about that? I think Sophia’s idea about slowly raising the minimum wage sounds like it could work. Its ridiculous that the minimum wage can’t support a family. How does the government expect everyone to be fine with those conditions? I became especially mad when I learned that people get fired if they take sick leaves. How is that even legal? I find all these facts very surprising, and I wish I knew about all this earlier. No wonder there are so many people in poverty. Hopefully the US government can get its act together, and turn this plateau into a spike.


  • Cami Galt

    Someone living in poverty should not only be given more money but
    the government should also have a program to help people in poverty get back on
    their feet. Something else that was strongly emphasized in the NPR broadcast was that we should find a better way to decide whether a person of family is in poverty of not. For example a single person living on $11,490 in the SF Bay Area is
    pretty-much impossible, but the same income in a place like Ohio would
    comparatively be pretty comfortable. Another thing that needs to be changed is
    the minimum wage salary, because quite frankly, inflation has risen too high
    for minimum wage workers to survive from their earnings. Even if you are working
    multiple minimum wage jobs, aside from your quality of life drastically decreasing, your job or jobs still wouldn’t provide enough money to live a thriving lifestyle. But where would that money comes from you ask? Something many people realize is that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. If the US raised taxes on the rich it would not only be better for people in poverty but it would also help the economy because the people in poverty are more likely to spend the money than a very wealthy person who would probably just let it sit in a bank account.

  • Daysia Adams

    Wow, the topic of poverty is a huge topic for me. In the city of Oakland , where im from, poverty is so common that its the norm. I Think that honestly the amount of people who are homeless or struggling to pay their rent or feed their children everyday is just depressing alone. In the times we live in the economy isn’t getting better at all if anything its getting even worse. Prices raising everyday. Its sad how living has become so expensive . Many parents are having to deal with being a single parent which obviously only has 1 income actually coming in. This puts all the pressure on that one parent. When it comes to jobs in California their are barely enough jobs that are paying enough for these people to even provide enough for their families every month. The minimum wage i agree does have a lot to do with that. But i believe it starts at the education . Many of this generations parents have not had the opportunity to go to college so the jobs that they are having to take on in order to provide are bringing in very low income. Another thing is many people are resorting to relying on the government to provide them with things such as food stamps and EBT and government checks. Things like that cause people to become lazy and not really feel as if they are having to go out and find a job . Yes i do agree these people do need income in the time where they are not working, but whats the point if they are not doing anything to try and find a job so that there situation may become better. California is known to have the worst poverty level when it comes to including housing costs. alifornia had the highest poverty in the country between 2010 an

  • Michael P.

    Although education is very important, and allows greater opportunity for success in life, entry-level job wages barely support students in college. Education should not only be more available, it should be cheaper to many.
    In the book, “Our America”, two kids raised in the south side of Chicago talk about the conditions of life in poverty. The two boys, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, escaped poverty in Chicago. They were blessed with an opportunity to voice their life experiences in poverty, an opportunity that many families in poverty may never have. Education in poor areas must be improved to train poor Americans into skillful workers.

  • Jake Ng

    Higher education needs to more accessible. The average living cost that a college student has to pay is around $15,000 for tuition, fees, room, board,and books. Sure, there are programs that give out scholarships and grants, but how many people do these programs cover? Some students take out loans to pay for their tuition and what not, but that just leaves them with huge debt later on in life. Even if you do finish college with a bachelor’s degree who knows how long it will take for you to get a job for what you studied in?

  • branden

    i think that people with less money should get the same education as any other person, i think their should b programs out their if their isn’t already to help family’s with lover income to provide their children with a better education. but also the minimum wade should be raised to accommodate where they are living like if a person lives in California should get a bit more than a person in Arizona because of the cost of living. i also think that people should be taxed more if they make more and taxed less if they make less.

  • Brooke P.

    Poverty is a bad thing. People living in poverty do need extra help. But, America is a free country, and you’re free to pursue your life however you want. What I mean is some people have it good, and don’t have to work as hard to make a living. But, some people do have to work harder to make a living. And for the people who need extra help, I guess we could keep using food stamps. And maybe lower price homes for people involved in poverty.

  • FS SHS

    I believe that the citizens of the U.S., wealthy or poor, have opportunities to get a job but some may not be able to keep that job with the other responsibilities they have. I do think that the minimum wage should be raised to support the people suffering from their lack of income.

  • Madison Martin

    Minimum wage laws and in kind transfers are both potential ways to reduce the problem of poverty. Minimum wage laws are a potential solution as it closes the income gap between the rich and poor which will allow for more spending money in the economy. In kind benefits are a promising resolution as well where low income earners will be guided in the right direction when improving their standard of living. This will also minimize irrational spending. Both of these policies won’t be able to eliminate poverty, a very ambitious task; however it will be able to reduce these hardships among the poor.

  • Rowan SS

    The US should start trying to help those in poverty to give them a chance at a better future.Lowering their tax rate comparatively to those with better economical standing could be the first step and then putting those taxes into creating better schools in those poverty ridden areas. Also providing more scholarships for those in the low to middle class as to help them attend colleges. An anti-poverty agenda would involve the government simply ignoring the issues occurring and continuing to go in the way it is. As said by the Washington post, there are more and more kids in need of financial support.

  • Jordan

    First, we should raise the price of minimum wage. Increase the price of goods, and not have things be Wal-Mart cheap. Manufacture more products in America. higher minimum wage should be at least enough for a single parent to support him/herself and a child. Lower profits shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem for companies that already make millions by the hour, and CEOs should stop being so greedy and give up a small portion of their not-so-hard-earned money to those who actually need it.

  • Winnie Z


    According to my resource, there are around 46.5 million Americans living in poverty. I also think that we should raise the minimum wage for workers. A lot of workers get paid around $8 when they’re the ones who do all the hard work. I mean, let’s face it, a manager could sitting in his/her chair talking on the phone and still make a better salary without doing the actual work. And I think the U.S should raise minimum wages, so those who live in poverty, especially ones who are single-parents can support his/her family. From my point of view, I think an anti poverty agenda would include bumping up the minimum wage for sure, having more time of government support for those who lost their jobs, and have companies hire more people instead of using computer resources.

  • Hank Smith

    I believe we need to offer more opportunities to poor people living in poverty so that they can get themselves out of it. Our government doesn’t have unlimited funds but i think everyone should have an equal chance at success in modern day life. We should be investing in education and projects to help people during their financial issues. If people could get a proper education and live in better homes i think our nation would prosper as a whole.

  • Eli Solomon

    The US needs to treat people in poverty much better. We need to tax millionaires more, and use that money to improve programs like food stamps and education, so we can actually have equal opportunity for all.

    • Jules

      I agree. Instead of raising taxes for all by raising the minimum wage, the US should just tax the wealthy and the people who having to pay higher taxes isn’t going to affect as much as it would people who are struggling to support themselves or their family

  • Matthew Cunanan

    We should treat those in poverty much better. We should tax the richer people more to use for food stamps so the amount of those that are in poverty will not be that much. Of course the government doesn’t have an infinite amount of money, but we should have enough to help the poor.

  • Omar Salgado

    We should make people with more money help the poor people. The government should set up places were people could get food for the day. Or people should find it in there self to help others.

    • Nannyra Ok

      I understand where you are coming from but you forgot that we already
      have places like soup kitchens, salvation armies, thrift stores, etc. in
      America today. People with money can choose to donate to charities in desperate need for the better cause.
      Teenagers or adults can also spare their time to volunteer at homeless
      shelters. There are so many families each day that go through poverty,
      go to bed hungry, and don’t have the money to buy food or even have a
      place to stay.

  • Michael Richie

    Having a family of three and not having the appropriate income is sad, but as the Info graphic shows, more jobs should be added to give the U.S. the flat-line of poverty that it deserves. The U.S. should at least try and aid the homeless, such as non-profit organizations, such as soup-kitchens, homeless shelters, or anything else, funded by tax payer bills to help aid the homeless. An anti-poverty agenda would look like those charts on the info graphic, with the level of income for an average family increasing, and the amount of poverty-stricken Americans decreasing.

  • Aria Williams

    If minimum wage increased then the price of goods would increase as well. So instead of raising the wages maybe the government should design a program like FDR and the CCC to educate low wage workers and teach them skills that can be applied to a career.
    It is also very unfortunate that America being one of the richest nation’s in the world has is placed 40th in education and only 42% in upward mobility, this is contradictory to the American Dream and the basis of a democratic society. These statistics are not only indicative of the facade the America tries to paint, but also demonstrate the lack of economic progress America has made over the past 30 years.

  • Justin Stewart

    We should address poverty by giving less wellfare/non-working wages, and offer more minimum wage jobs specifically made for getting people back onto their feet. We are a nation which too many people rely on the generous hand to feed them, and we need to get our citizens to work.

  • Gavin Maxwell

    We should lengthen the time in which someone should be able to receive unemployment checks, along with this the amount of money that we allow people to receive is ridiculously low. In schools something needs to be done too. Kids do not receive enough practical skills from Elementary School, Middle School, High School and even College which makes interviews as well as concentrating in a work environment a challenge. While the “;No Child Left Behind Plan” is working along at it’s own pace we need something that can help kids now.

  • Bailey

    I think poor people are the ones who need to most help

  • Ann Villa

    Poverty is a big problem in the U.S right now. It will be very hard to fix, but it makes me sad to see people living on the streets, and kids who cant get an education due to this. In the info graphic it shows that in 2011 and 2012 15 % of people were in poverty. I’m sure there is a solution to if not completely end it at least lower poverty

  • Kody B

    I also think that minimum wage should be raised and for all the same reasons other people are saying. It is not as if people are getting lazier and just not working. The people in poverty just do not have as many opportunities and it is hurting them more than ever. This needs to addressed as soon as possible too due to the fact it will most likely progress for the worse more and more as we head into the future. The faster this problem is fixed the better. It is fixed slowly but steadily.

  • Caroline H.

    I think that the minimum wage should be raised because making minimum wage isn’t enough to support a person and definitely not a person and their family. Also, we should lower the prices for necessities like food to make sure that people can afford to buy food, and prices for things like clothes should be lowered because the price for the product is most often not the actual value for what you are buying.
    Big companies and manufacturers like Apple should be making more products in the US to create more jobs. It’s hard for someone to get out of poverty if they can’t get a job. So, if we have more jobs available then more people will be able to get out of poverty.

  • Tino Mahoney

    (My other account wasn’t posting)

    I think we should raise minimum wage for starters I think that would help a great deal. Families just can’t survive on minimum wage right now. Also get ride of the tax cuts on the rich and the 1% because its killing the poor and the middle class and shift more of the tax burden on the wealthy Americans. Also put more government resources in training skilled labor. If this happens I think we’ll be well on our way.

  • Abigail Yager

    Poverty is such a tough subject because there really isn’t a way to end it 100%. Our economy is so messed up and almost un-fixable. One way we could help would be to raise minimum wage so that people making minimum wage would get more and be able to support their family. However, the problem with that is then the company would have to fire some people in order to pay others with the new, higher minimum wage. The best way to end poverty is to get more jobs for people, but if more jobs open up that just means that someone else just got fired. I think the poverty is a never-ending cycle. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fix it, its just very difficult to make everyone happy.

  • davidjenny

    A higher minimum wage will not only benefit the lives of local business owners but their businesses as well. I would also allow more sick days for the workers; this would also allow for these families to take care of their families better. As Robert Reich said “we know that 42 percent of poor kids born into poverty remain in poverty for their entire lifetimes, a higher percentage than even in Britain, where 30 percent of people born in poverty stay in poverty.” I think that fact should disturb everyone enough to try and make a difference as small as donating to a charity.

  • Avisha sabaghian

    The unequal distribution of wealth in the United States suggests that a relatively small group of people in our country own much more than a large group that has been suffering from poverty. Being one of the more developed countries, and considering out GDP, it is evident that a few are gaining instead of many. The key to better life standards for the majority is to control that minority, Unfortunately with money comes power and that is why not much change has been seen in regards to the less fortunate. I think the corporations need to be controlled. That means higher wages while keeping the prices static.

  • Safaa Jamshed

    Poverty is a large issue in the US. How should we address it? One of the biggest contributing factors to poverty is minimal education? Some children have so little to eat that they can’t pay attention in school. Recently, I was listening to the radio and I heard that although many poor people apply to colleges and usually would get into them, they are not accepted simply because they don’t have enough money to pay for tuition. I also heard that colleges aren’t supposed to decline students depending on how much money they have. They are supposed to accept students and then find out how to pay for them. If poorer students were accepted into colleges, they would be able to get better jobs, make more money, and provide more for their families. Another thing we can do to address poverty is community service. There are many places in our communities that we can volunteer such as food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens. I think that these are some of the main things that contribute to poverty and that we can heal our communities by gradually repairing these things.
    -Miss Chen’s Student

  • Kyasia Thompson

    I think everyone should have the opportunities to take care of their families, meaning they should raise the minimum wage because it doesn’t really support a family of three or even a single parent. Over these past few years it’s getting more and more expensive to raise and provide for your children, so raising minimum wage would be fantastic for single parents or parents of many children. Minimum wage doesn’t only affect single parents, it effects college students that can’t really have a full time job, it effects high school students that try to save up for college, and it can also effect newly graduates that needs a minimum wage job to support them financially.

  • Freyja G. and Zoya S.

    Looking at poverty in the US, we think that minimum wage should be raised. This would help financial issues in poor families due to the fact that they would have at least a stable income they can rely on. We feel that businesses should focus more on the individual incomes of their employees, rather than how great of a profit the company makes. Also we agree that a family in poverty would have the incentive to do more than the average worker when it comes to making money, although individuals who are born into poverty have a much harder time rising up and finding better opportunities than middle or upper class individuals. For this reason, a focus should be directed towards those families.

  • Chuck M.

    I believe that the government should help out on the occurrence of poverty. They should create more food banks and more jobs. This provides older men and women in poverty the equal appearance of life. I also believe people living in poverty should get benefits until they get on their feet again. These benefits should include food, water, and shelter. There are also poor living children and youth. The government should at least place them with education along with the needs as an adult in poverty. These children should have a chance to learn and try to get a job even when there parents either screw up or lost their jobs. Children make a difference on our planet with new ideas. These ideas then are taken across the nation and put into into action. In conclusion poverty should be controlled and children in poverty should be able to have equal education rights.

  • Annie C. and Maddy B.

    We think that that improving education could help the impoverished get jobs and ultimately get there life back on track. Community colleges could provide scholarships to the poor or people that can’t pay themselves. If the colleges cant provide scholarships, then we think that schools should start free programs for those who have not gotten a basic education. In addition, local community centers or colleges could consider hosting programs that focus on skills needed for certain jobs. Once you graduated these programs, you could put them on a resume, or just have the basic skills you learned.

  • Soiranda

    We agree to the need for a higher
    minimum wage and helping people in poverty, but we also feel that the
    government already does so much for the people. People, in general, need to
    take a responsibility for what they do and don’t do to secure their jobs. If
    they do happen to find themselves in poverty, there are solutions for a better
    quality of life. For example, there are food stamps, soup kitchens, and
    shelters to keep humans from starvation and give them a roof over their heads. However,
    the government could do some more in helping the poverty of their country. For
    instance, America can increase the minimum wage to help single parent families
    with multiple children to nurture. Additionally, they could reduce the federal
    income tax further to keep them out of a deprived state. Altogether, both the
    people in poverty and the government could do a bit more to ensure that their budget
    is enough to support them and their families.

  • Breanna Dean

    I do think that poverty in America is really depressing and sad. Yes we do need to raise the minimum wage for the workers because a lot of people aren’t getting paid what they deserve for what they are doing. Also there are a lot of single parents out there struggling. I believe that people losing there jobs is really not okay because that is messing with peoples income to there houses. It really isn’t fair . These low income family parents are surviving off the government and this is sometimes because they don’t have a High School Diploma due to how their lives were as a child. The poverty level goes from generation to generation. The government needs to do more to HELP these people out.

  • Rachel, Bethany, Alyssa

    The US should come up with different organizations that bring in people living in poverty to help them have a better life. It would provide education for everyone and opportunities for people to have jobs that pay enough to live on. The US should also give workers a certain number of days off when they have family members who are sick, or when they are sick. If the federal government raised the minimum wage for workers, then the people in poverty who work would be able to make enough for their families.

  • Julian

    I feel like the U.S. should raise minimum wage, because the current wage can’t support a single parent of with children. If they can’t earn enough money, then their children will also have to take minimum wage jobs to support the family. This increases the dropout rate, and if more children drop out, then they will also have to take minimum wage jobs because they don’t have enough education. It’s just a never ending cycle, and if people can’t get out of poverty, then it will just continue.

  • ZK

    Instead of raising the minimum wage, we should increase awareness of this topic, and encourage kids to stay in high school and finish it. A huge percentage of the people in poverty are high school dropouts. By deciding to drop out of high school, you are eliminating any possibility of a successful professional career, and putting yourself at risk of living in poverty in the future.
    Also, if someone is a high school dropout, there is a huge chance that their kids will never finish high school either. Unfortunately this is a cycle that continues, and is a huge cause of poverty in the United States.
    There are very few people who are living in poverty because they cannot find jobs, they are living in poverty because they do not qualify for even the most basic jobs (McDonald’s) because they do not have a high school diploma. The first step in ending or reducing poverty in the U.S. is to raise awareness and encourage kids to go to college, or at the very least complete high school.

  • Preston, Matthew, and Megan

    In our opinion, an excellent way to relieve future families of poverty is to provide the current children of those families with a quality education. Children of poor families are likely to grow up to become poor themselves because their parents can’t afford an education for them and therefore it is incredibly difficult for said children to gain and maintain a substantial living. If we can provide their children with an education then we can break the constant cycle of generation after generation of that family sustaining its socially and economically, poor position.

    One possible solution to this problem could be for the government to provide financial support to families with a low income (based on state and national standards). Maybe the government could create an online college, where professors could work at a free or reduced rate to provide college courses for those who qualify for financial aid. This could also provide the life skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Another idea is to cut government spending, especially the defense budget and military spending. I remember hearing that, at one point in time, the government was spending over a billion dollars a day in Iraq and Afghanistan! Should our priorities really be so heavily focused on foreign interests? Shouldnt we worry about domestic problems too?

    The ultimate goal, of course, is to break the cycle of poverty, generation after generation. Education, while, maybe not the great equalizer, has been proven to lead to higher pay and better jobs. It is the gateway to a better America, and a better world.

  • MIDV189

    Poverty and Inequalities

    We believe as a group, as well, that poverty and inequality could be fixed by higher minimum wages. However, we have to think as a country, the amount of money it would take to have higher minimum wages in America. To this day America is in debt, and having higher minimum wages would put our country deeper into debt.We also have to think about where this money is coming from. Imagine taking away the right to go to the movies whenever you want. The money you didn’t use would go towards fixing poverty. Are you willing to give up your iPhone or being able to buy new dress? When you think about it, when have americans ever been that selfless. Are YOU willing to be?

  • Daniel Ruoyao Christin

    I believe
    that poverty is a terrible thing in our modern society. If more people helped
    the people in poverty the level of people in poverty would decrease. Children
    who grow up in poverty tend to drop out of school earlier, and have a lower
    standard of living throughout their lives. This stems from an inability to get
    higher paying jobs. From this, I can say that the children should focus more on
    their school life, and less on other things that will matter less in life. We
    need to equip children to escape the grasp of poverty that they grow up in. This
    cannot be done without a fundamental schooling, which is hard to get for some with
    the drop out age as it is today. Young people should be encouraged to stay in
    school, and focus more on the future, and less on what is happening in the now.

  • Armando A

    What we should do is start local food drives to help and support these people in need. Because in this day and age the world is only going to get worse also I think we should get them the support and education they deserve we all deserve a second chance or a new beginning.

  • David V.

    I believe that to stop poverty we could set up more local food drives for the less fortunate, also the government can set up homes were people who are below the poverty line can live in until they get back on their feet. The reason why so many people are in poverty is that we have no upward mobility. This means that when the people are below the poverty line it is hard to get out of it. That is why when someone is born into poverty it is hard or impossible to get out of poverty.

    • Stephan G.

      Sounds Great!

  • Morgan

    Our government should help out those who are in poverty and give them more opportunities to make money instead of limiting them to only to certain things, especially those who have families. We as a community should raise money to help these people or do a food drive once a week and help those who are suffering from poverty. People in poverty might not have a great education which is why they can’t make enough money in order to live a stable life.

  • Oscar P P

    I think that the way to deal with poverty is for the United States making more jobs around the whole country. I know that that is possible and they should make more jobs. Maybe they can give the jobs to people starting with the ones with more poverty help out the more needed and then maybe help out the less needed. They should also fund more money into the kids of the poverty people that way the kids wont stay in poverty when they are older, then that might start a chain of people helping the people in need. They should also have a poverty fund help them out like that..give everything at a low income rate is is low electricity, low water, low cable, low housing, i don’t know it just keeps on going.

  • Holli

    I think as a Nation we need to create more jobs. When we as a nation create more jobs it helps with poverty. Also I think education is a big factor as well. When we as a nation have a better education it help with what kinda job you will get in the future. I feel like if we have more food drive that can help with family’s trying to feed there children. ALso insteed of throwing away our clothes we donate it so other people can get a use out of them.

  • Natalee

    I believe that for people in poverty we should open more jobs for them. I also think that we should raise awareness about the situation so that there are more people that can try to make a difference. Some people think that we should raise minimum wage but in my opinion I feel like that wouldn’t do any good because if we raise minimum wage some jobs won’t be willing to hire more people if they need to pay their employees more. On that note expenses of things will go up and it won’t solve the issue. In conclusion, I believe that we should just raise awareness about the situation.

  • Maritza

    Some people might say to raise minimum wage, but that means prices for goods will increase in price. I think that if colleges weren’t so expensive then people can attend school and receive high paying jobs.

  • Ernesto F

    I believe that the government should help out on the occurrence of poverty. They should create more food banks and more jobs. I don’t feel like the government is dong anything about this to help out. The government should help out by having more places to live if you have low income . They also should help out by helping with money and more food .

  • Christian

    Poverty is a horrid thing that happens worldwide. If you are born and raised into a family who is in poverty you are more likely to drop out of school to help their families out economically.This prevents people from getting a good education to earn a good paying job. We the people should help these people out by creating and supporting new charities and food drives locally. Also we should make a difference by helping build new homes for the needy.

  • nick

    One way we could definetly help this problem is to start a bunch of food drives with local organizations to give back to those in need. I personally think rasing minimum wage would make things a lot harder and difficult because prices for food clothes and gas will rise and are expensive as is already. One point i do want to bring up though is these day jobs that are basically meant for high school students to expierence are taken up by adult who are trying to feed there kids so maybe that why some who were born in poverty stay in it

  • Savannah

    Poverty is a horrible thing and some may struggle to work their way up, others might not do it at all, but I believe that sometimes parents who work aren’t trying their hardest. My father came from Mexico with his 5 other siblings and my grandparents, they lived in a 1 bedroom apartment in a poor section of the desert. He had only a high school education yet he is successful now with making about 110,000 a year because he worked hard with 2 jobs in the beginning then he worked his way up. My solution may seem unorthodox but in my opinion it would work. And if they truly need help then they need to seek out the programs that will try and relieve some of the troubles on your shoulders, that is one of the reasons they were created.

  • Oscar V.

    I honestly believe poverty is a horrible thing, but there isn’t much we can really do. If we raise minimum wage we also must raise the cost of living. Raising education for some can help but that’s based on funding for better teaching. We could have low income housing, maybe even more jobs to open up and give people the opportunities to work more hours, cause more money will require more work. We could also provide more organizations to help the poverty class, such as donation offices around every city.

  • Marissa

    I think more people need to get involved and help the people who are under the poverty line. We need more jobs so people can get hired to make money. Our government should get involved in helping this group of people. We need to get the people that are under poverty line to get out of that. Raising minimum wage could help but there is consequences to it. If the minimum wage goes up, so does everything else.

  • Natalie A.

    If we raise minimum wage then that would force the company to to raise the prices of their products to help pay more for their employers. I think we should provide higher paying jobs for single mothers who struggle in supporting their children. Parents with low paying jobs may not have enough money to support their kids with their everyday needs. So I think that we should raise minimum wage for the parents or single parents that need a little extra to help support their children.

  • Stephan G.

    A good idea would be to raise the minimum wage but if that meant for other people to lose there jobs that wouldn’t be helping the community. We could have food drives to help those in need also we could organize ideas or events to help those in need. Hopefully by organizing these events it would mean having a better community and families getting the help they need.

  • Fernanda

    We need to raise awareness for poverty. There are a lot of people who ignore the situation of poverty since it is not their problem or they don’t care about anyone. The more education and awareness we give to people, the more we can help these individuals with low-income and decrease the situation.

  • Nathan Z

    In my opinion i feel like there are many ways to help poverty and decrease the amount of people that maintain it through out their lifetime and there are many programs that have/can be created to help situations but i also believe that you wouldnt be able to stop poverty within yourself if you dont have the mind set to want to help yourself and genuinlly think of your finances increasing in a positive way

  • Omar P

    I believe that we need to make sure that children stay in school because the education we get goes hand in hand with the money you earn. So we need to encourage children to stay in school and try their personal best to succeed. If children do this then they won’t be in poverty because they will have a good paying job.

  • Trinity H.

    I strongly agree that we should raise the minimum wage because it’ll help make some of the low poverty people make more money. The amount of people that are suffering from unemployment is devastating. Families that are under the poverty line suffer more and that needs to change, especially when it comes to single mothers or fathers raising their child(ren). There needs to be more jobs open and higher wages. People shouldn’t have to suffer like this.

  • brandon m

    I think we should raise minimum wage , but there are some downsides to this because all prices will increase . we already have a lot of beneficial programs such as welfare and what I have seen recently is many parents have become lazy and have relied on there welfare check to come in and pay for everything . On the other hand , there are many parents who get beneficial programs and still work which is what we want so they can get extra money for such things .

  • Citlally

    I believe that the United States should treat its needy with respect. An example to help the needed can be by doing food drives. Many people that are in poverty should not stay in poverty, these people should keep going up and getting out of poverty within their education. The more educated you are the more you will success at having a better life.

  • Lucia L.

    One of the main problems in America is poverty, most would argue that we should raise minimum wage but America has been in debt and still is today. So if we did decide to raise it, everything else would be raised as well. For example the cost in food, school supplies, and items for personal needs. My point is that we should think of other ways besides raising minimum wage, like fundraising in schools for kids that are less fortunate and are in poverty, maybe even more places that give out meals for those who can’t even afford food. All in all I think one day we can live in a world with no poverty if we can all just help each other out

  • Kaylen B.

    Instead of raising minimum wage , we should lower the prices on food,houses,cars and etc.

  • Juan G

    There is no way to stop poverty but what we can do to help those in poverty is try to get them out by showing them what they can be and do to get out of it like field trips to hospitals and to universities.

  • alexa c.

    I agree with rasing minimum wage because it will help the lower poverty make more money. More and more families everyday are suffering with finances.

  • kimberly D

    we should lower the prices of out water and house rent and car payments . or some schools can go to outher lower income schools and help them. our high income schools are using the money to help our sports teams like foot ball soccer basketball volleyball they are using spair money to help thoses sports. some low in come schools get so bad is where kids start to drop out and they ruin thier lifes and and witch will lead to more kids ruining thier lifes.

  • Jacob Q

    There is really no way to stop poverty, it’s kind of like a choice, because it was their choice to drop out and miss out on opportunities for a career or a job that doesn’t pay minimum wage and bring yourself out of it. Only we can take ourselves out of poverty.

  • Julia F*

    Instead of raising minimum wage , we should lower the prices on many everyday life expenses

  • Irieanna M

    I think they should start doing food drives and maybe start helping out more but not too much where they can take advantage. We need more jobs so people can get money and they wouldn’t need help from the government.

  • Andrea R.

    I believe that poverty can be prohibited if we take a good look at our system. There are so many things that are not closely looked at, such as the fact that we do not pay close attention of the way that our education system is controlled. If our education were to change, students of the next generation can have a better brighter future.

  • Brandon P.

    I think the reason that the minimum wage is so low and people don’t get paid sick days is that the U.S. is in debt, and by giving people money like that, it would put us into even more debt. Cost of living, food, and everything else would dramatically increase to keep this country from going into debt. So, if people get this money that they need, it would just put us back, or even further into debt. The only way to stop poverty, is to take away the national debt, and/or getting EVERYONE a job.

  • Katelyn C.

    Having a family of three and not having the appropriate income is sad, more jobs should be added to give the U.S. the flat-line of poverty that it deserves. There really is no way for us to stop poverty but what we can do to help is to lower prices instead of making them so high that most people can not afford them. I just think the US should treat those in poverty with respect.

  • Liliana D.

    A lot of schools don’t have a lot of supplies, materials etc. They probably don’t have air conditioning at school due to the money that they don’t have.

  • Katie D.

    I don’t think there is any way to stop poverty, because some people have chose to live that life and others have tried very hard and just can’t catch up. For example though they could lower the costs of many thing such as food, cars, gas, clothing, and extra curricular activities, etc.. For some jobs $9 an hour is an alright pay to manage yourself and your family to scratch by and be able to buy a roof over your head, food, and clothing. Also, if you really wanted to improve and be able to afford more things for your family you would go out an maybe handle 2 jobs at a time,or go out and try to find a higher paying job, but if you’re trying to give the needs to your family and you’re having more children and you can hardly afford the ones that you have than that’s your problem and you clearly don’t care about your financial problems.

  • Anissa R.

    I think that we should raise minimum wage. But the downfall to that is that all the prices for things would raise. So instead I think we should just lower the prices of things. I think that we have done quite a bit already with things like welfare, and food stamps. I think that people sometimes just get to dependent on it.

  • Alijah M.

    I think that people who are above proverty line should help families who aren’t. I think that everybody should help people that are under the proverty line. I also think that we need more places hiring so people can get jobs.

  • Shannon H

    Raising the minimum wage is a good thing, but its also bad because all the prices of things will go up and then people will end up loosing their jobs.

  • Phoebe

    In my opinion, it all comes down to education. If you fix schools in an area, the children will grow up and be able to go to college, which will then allow them to get a decent job. There should also be stricter regulations on how schools spend their money. Such as making sure the income of the employees isn’t too high and a certain amount goes to textbooks, supplies etc.

  • Jahaira A.

    I think poverty is one of Americas biggest problem, And America should stop raising their prices and help them.We should increase minimum wage.If people would want food to be cheaper I think food would be so Unsafe! And it still is.

  • Karolina R

    Prices on food, bills, houses/apartments and especially education (colleges) should go down. Also, everyone should stay in school. We, as people, should encourage all students to not drop out and keep their education going.

  • Glenda A.

    I think the U.S should try a little harder to try and help people in poverty, especially the people who are homeless. We should try and supply more supplies for them like, the schools who aren’t able to give their students books, pencils, paper, and etc.

  • Diana R

    I don’t think there’s a way to stop poverty. It’s always going to be a part of our state. But there are in fact ways to decrease poverty. An example can be food drives or donations including clothes, toys, and furniture. All these little things can help decrease poverty.

  • Natasha.A

    Yes there is no absolute way to stop poverty, but doing project to help poverty can go so far. We can guide them halfway but they also have to do their part. We can help them expand and see in a other point of view, but they also have to expand as much as we do.

  • Cristopher R.

    Education does play an important role in how much income is received, the discussion of poverty and what to do to assess it goes far deeper than what most people see. My belief on what should happen to lower the poverty line is, to get kids interested in receiving a higher education, and those who do not want to receive an education learn other type of manual labor skills that you can do.

  • Manuel.V

    I think we should raise minimum wage but the people in poverty got to try to we cant just hand them every thing.we should provided more jobs and help with materials that they need.

    • Guest


  • Bailey R.

    One of the main problems in the U.S. is poverty, a majority of people would say that raising minimum wage would help, but it won’t, it would just raise the prices of everything else and then where would we be? It would be even harder to buy things, I think that if we fund-raised for schools and other places it would help lower prices of things.

  • Devyn V

    Single parents should be paid more in order to support their family. Especially when they have young kids and need the money to afford a babysitter or daycare.

  • Melanie N.

    Poverty will always be around, but there are ways that people can break off from that cycle. We can make sure that kids stay in school and be committed to it, parents can have honest jobs and work harder to maybe move up to a better position.

  • kayleeo

    I understand that raising minimum wage would be good but then again it would also raise prices in stores and some people cant afford to start paying more. Instead we should just lower prices in stores and etc. I know we’re trying already with food stamps and welfare but obviously it isn’t enough.

  • David H.

    If single mothers do not have enough money to support their family then the goverment have to help them. Kids that do not have enough money to go to school have to have a chance to go to school. Raining the minimum wage would raise the prices of the good foods. Also if parents have a job that pays a little then they should pay them more to support their family.

  • Caitlyn W.

    I really don’t know how poverty would stop. Because if you increase minimum wage and decrease the price of food or do anything to change prices something goes wrong it causes more problems than good. I hope some day in the future no one has to be in poverty and struggle to get by day by day.

  • Conrad N.

    I think that, to help poverty, we should help the people that are single and have a family than the others

  • Jennifer M.

    Poverty isn’t cool. Schools that don’t have a lot of money and that are in low income neighborhoods usually aren’t the best kids so its hard to get people there.

  • Jennifer S.

    I think they should raise minimum wage and raise awareness because people that aren’t going through poverty don’t pay attention. People that are single parents should get a little bit more money. When kids are going through poverty they should have a group or special class to encourage kids to stay in school and show the opportunities that they have and how life changing it could be.

  • Emily V

    That would be a great idea to raise the minimum wage but that has consequences like less hiring, prices will go up, you can lose your job.

  • Victoria P.

    I believe that a lot of people do rely on minimum wage, some people even complain that minimum wage is not enough money and should be higher. What people do not understand is that the higher the wage goes the higher the prices on food gas and everything else will go up. So I believe that there should be a way that they can make it work to even it out so people earn more money and keep prices reasonable.

  • Sara R.

    I think we should raise the minimum wage a little because it will help the people who’s in poverty so they can buy things, food, etc. for their children or anybody that they’re supporting. But there’s consequences to it because it will raise the prices of everything and it will be much more expensive to the original price that people may not afford it. So it might cause alot of problems in the United States more than any continents on Earth.

  • Brianna.V

    Instead of raising minimum wage, they should lower the prices on food,clothes,homes, and ect. because there’s really no point in raising minimum wage if the prices on stuff are going up as well.

  • JeshK_PattersonAPHuG

    I really do agree that the minimum wages in the United States have to be increased. But that would also lead to more broader problems. If the wages go up, then many prices of merchandise and goods have to be raised as well. Then that leads to that companies have to spend more money on the worker. Not only that but since the prices go up, the customers will not be satisfied. This catastrophe basically all sums up to break down in company’s profits thought the whole nation if items of the corny are not sold enough. Although the that it would be convenient for the poor to be paid much more, then it would cause much more trouble.
    This article explains a lot of things that would happen if the minimum wages were increased. Another that could happen is that 500,000 jobs around the country could be lost. In this situation, no one is right or wrong. We sometimes have to deal with what happens. But individually we can help out the poor in need. Donate or help found charity groups.


Maxine Einhorn

Maxine Einhorn is from London and has lived in the Bay Area for 12 years. She has worked in adult education in London,UK, for over twenty years as a tenured instructor and department manager. She has an MA in Film and TV from University of London and has taught, moderated and appraised academic work in film studies and media literacy at undergraduate and college level. She runs the ESL/ Post Secondary project at KQED which offers media-rich resources for and created by ESL educators.

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