There is a lot of harsh dialogue thrown around about welfare and welfare reform. But according to this author, the fault is not with the poor individuals themselves—it is with the system that is keeping them down and oppressed.
In terms of specific challenges faced by those in poverty, poverty is sometimes a situation in which a population’s perceptions about what is healthy become different from the outside society’s, and then the outside society is brought down further in their estimation in whatever form it takes and they become more proud and insulated from it. The most important part to keep in mind is that people have moved from welfare into the workforce over the last few years, but many remain who face significant challenges in the system (perhaps the most challenges).
Diet, housing, and healthcare are basic human needs. In terms of diet, poor people face obstacles because of a lack of education about nutrition, combined with an over-abundance of unhealthy and fast food places in poor socio-economic areas. Housing is a problem, with public housing opportunities existing, but within a sea of red tape and paperwork. The same description also works for healthcare; there are problems of opportunity and access.
Improving a situation of poverty means working to change the system that keeps people within poverty. These poor people exposed by the author are not monsters; in fact, they have less, so that others can have more. They “neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high” (Ehrenreich, 2001). Without a change in the overall system of the country, there can be little individual improvement.
There are many obstacles against escaping poverty. There is also the issue of the conflation of poverty and lower