In a capitalistic society, money does matter, and one of the greatest fears pervading the minds of most Americans is the possibility of not having enough of it. The truth remains todayùpoverty is still one of America's most urgent problems. Poverty is an overwhelming topic, both in volume and by its very nature.
Many vivid pictures come to mind with the words poverty and welfare, and they are usually not pretty ones. Almost sixty-five years later after the construction of several powerful programs instigated by Federal and local governments, non-profits and even local churches, there is still no end in sight to this epidemic. Is there any hope of ever ending poverty or should we as Americans succumb to the fact that we just need to do our best to help ameliorate it and lessen the burden on society and individuals? In 1998, The State of Human Development defined poverty as:
More than a lack of what is necessary for material well being, poverty can also mean the denial of opportunities and choices most basic to human developmentùthe desire to lead a long, healthy, creative life; to have a decent standard of living (Kilty and Segal, 25).
The most basic measure of poverty was established in the 1960s and is called the "poverty line" or the Federal Poverty Measure (Meltzer 10). Today, the poverty level income established for a family of four is $18,850 (2004 Federal Poverty Guidelines,) or an hourly wage of under $10.00 per hour. Most government programs shift their federal funds based on these figures and the number of poor people existing today. One of our great economists, John Kenneth Galbraith, elaborates on the idea that poverty is a relative condition. He said
People are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls radically behind that of the community (Meltzer 25).
Galbraith is alluding to the fact that being poor is more than not just having enough money, it is not fitting...