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They will remain poor

The end of the Cold War, which had in the United States and Russia its main actors, gave a new order to the world. The communist ideology lost against democracy and capitalism. The United States became the most powerful nation in the planet.

For instance, many nations around the world have adopted the American system and see it as the ideal type of government.

However, no type of government is perfect, there's no ideology that guarantees a perfect life for its citizens.

One of the American policies that is broken is the Welfare State.

After World War II many democratic states in Europe adopted new ways of taking care of their people and especially those in economic need. Poor people turned their eyes to their governments in search for economic help in terms of food and shelter. 

European countries such as Germany and the Nordic nations decided to have a Universal Welfare State, which means that their programs were intended to aid all kinds of people no matter how much money they make or how much they declare in taxes in order to get services such as medical insurance, food, or shelter.

In other words, companies pay for their employee's medical insurance and workers are willing to pay for their own benefits but are not forced to be enrolled in their programs. However, there's is a sense of responsibility with the government that makes people contribute with the state.

Poor people don't have to stay below a line in order to get help. For instance, a person can make as much as he or she can and doesn't lose his or her benefits and the government takes care of them by giving them good education and allocating them in the workforce.  

The effect this causes in people is that having a job dignifies them and if they make more money than what they made before the government doesn't deny economic help.

What happens in the United States?

The Welfare State in the United States is a system that pushes people to stay poor. Here in the U.S. people who gets economic aid from the government need to meet certain criteria in order to obtain that help. Minorities such as African Americans and Spanish people fall into the category of the ones that are most likely to receive assistance from the government.

For example, if a person makes more than certain amount loses his or her medical insurance because the number exceeds the standardized table. Furthermore, people decide to stay poor rather than losing their benefits.

A case of a single mother:

Ana has two kids and was abandoned by her ex-husband. She makes $24,000 a year and is recipient of section 8, which means that the government pays half of her rent, Ana and her kids have Medicaid benefits (table: less than $26,016 for a mother with two kids) .
Ana used to pay $800 monthly in rent ($9,600 the year). She used to receive help for buying food from
SNAP so she didn't have to worry about feeding her kids, she had a limit of $500 monthly. In total she had $14,400 yearly for her other expenses such as transportation, clothes and paying bills.

Ana had the opportunity to make $35,000 a year from a better job, $11,000 more than her actual job. However, when she did the equation the numbers didn't work. Wait a minute! How is that? Why?

The answer is simple: she crosses the line, what line? The one that says whether you are poor or you are poor without benefits. The poverty line shouldn't be the criteria for helping people because instead of helping them is suppressing them and pushing them not to cross the line.

Let's do the math: by Ana accepting the new job has to pay: $19,200 in rent, $6,000 in food, and medical insurance. The total she ends up to cover her remaining expenses is $9,800, which is $4,600 less than before. For instance, she decided just not to accept the job because "she crossed the line"

The consequences are: poverty, disintegration, social inequality, disparity among races, early involvement in drugs, all of this because there is a segregation that everybody sees but used to accept and live with it.

Things get worse when the government puts people in certain areas called "Public Housing" and isolate them from good education condemning their kids to grow up with many obstacles. In fact, among minority students, only 54% of African American and 56% of Hispanic students graduate from high school, compare to 80% of white students. The lifetime earnings of a person who dropout school are $300.000 less than a person who graduated.
A report says that high school dropouts cost around $350 billion yearly in terms of wages, health, taxable income, and welfare to the government.
This is serious and if we don't act now it will get worse. It is estimated that by 2050, minority populations with the highest dropout's rates from high school will be half the number of the inhabitants of the United States. That means that half of the population of the United States will be poor and depend on the government.

Policies such as "no child left behind" or "enroll, engage, and educate" which are intended to develop productive members of society, are not working. And they are not working because what surrounds the schools is a problem as big as the country: government makes poor people stay poor.

The idea of the laissez-faire which means let them do in French and that has been part of the foundation of capitalism is not working with poor people in the United States. Instead of helping them achieve their goals, governments are setting many obstacles for them to succeed.

There are no incentives to work and get their families out of the projects because the system is just not made for the poor ones to succeed. On the other hand, the middle class has to work, pay for everything, pay taxes, and contribute to the welfare state so the poor is isolated and quiet.

Everything would be different if we have a universal system of welfare. The money that is spent on giving the poor shelter, food and medical insurance would be less if they are well educated with high salaries and don't have the burden of thinking that if they make more money they will cross the line and consequently losing the benefits. The economy would increase and also brilliant minds would be used to empower our society.

There are around 50 million Spanish people and 40 million African Americans in the United States and we only see a few on governmental positions. On the other hand, the story is different in terms of the ones that
are recipients of welfare or imprisoned.

Some NYPD officers have even confessed: "Instead of being protected by us, the civilian population is being hunted and we're being hated"

Working should be something that dignifies people. Today, lots of people just don't want to work because the government gives them everything with the condition that they must be in real need.

In other words, you depend on me so relax but you won't be a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, a police officer but if you do something bad I will send you the law enforcers, put you in jail, and then you get upset with the system but remember that you can't do anything about it.

When asking the parents of successful African Americans and Hispanics how they were able to raise their kids and guide them through the right path, the same kinds of answers emerge:
"It was very difficult."
"I didn't think my son/daughter was going to make it, the worse thing was keeping them away from drugs."
"I had to pay for extra-classes and work extra-time but I didn't report the extra-money because if I did so I was going to be denied from welfare and Medicaid."
"It was hard to prepare my kid for this society that seems to benefit those who are better educated than the others."

No system is perfect and democracy is not the exception. We have time to make the road for our future generations. We need to act now, there is a lot of talent in the streets, many kids that can contribute to the progress of this nation. Many parents that struggle to raise their children with values but need the government to be smart and work along with them.

Let's make people feel proud of themselves, let's get them involved in the construction of a better America.


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