class status power final paper 2

class status power final paper 2 - The working poor within...

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The working poor within the United States should be of great concern, but most people do not truly realize what such hardships these people live through. In Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, we get a better understanding of what people here in the United States most do just to live. We as fellow Americans can find a way to alleviate the situation by better respecting our service industry workers and by supporting public polices that will help pull these people out of the endless cycle of poverty that grips millions within its devastating clutches that preys on the weak. Through improved social programs that address unearned entitlements and an increase in the minimum wage, we can help people achieve the American dream that so many are looking for. The poverty level for 2007 used by the federal government for a family of four is $20,650 and a single individual $9,570. Based on a 40-hour work week with seven paid holidays (which is a luxury/benefit in itself) comes out to be $9.93 per hour (for a family of four) - which is consider by most in the working poor to be a good job since the federal minimum wage is only $5.15 or $10,712 annually. This regulated amount is even worse for employees that receive gratuities; the mandated wage is only $2.13. Though the employer is required to make up the difference if one’s tips do not combine to equal
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$5.15, this is hardly enforced or brought to the attention of management or the governments division of labor, because the staff is in fear of losing their job. Due to this fact, some are not even meeting the minimum wage on nights when business is slow or tips just are not enough. The minimum wage was first introduced in the United States in 1938 in an effort to improve the average living standard for our citizens. It has increased over the years to account for inflation and increased cost of goods but still falls short of even meeting the poverty line. Though the call for an increase has been greater the last few years, with many states picking up the slack where the federal government is lacking, some have taken it upon themselves to require a higher wage in their state but many still fall well below the poverty line. According to the governments Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2003 there were 7.4 million people considered working poor, and the number continues to rise every year with no end in sight. One is considered to be living in poverty when their standards of living are below the minimum needed to maintain an adequate diet, health, and shelter. There are then two types of poverty that people fall into, absolute and relative. Relative poverty is the deprivation of some people in relation to those who have more. People at this level are able to satisfy basic needs such as water, food, shelter, health care, and clothing but are still below the majority of the population in terms of income level.
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