Poverty is a complex problem facing our nation today. Poverty can be defined as the deprivation of things that determine ones quality of life. While, we generally think of food, shelter, and clothing as these things, we commonly forget the intangibles. Opportunity to learn, meaningful employment, and respect of fellow citizens are also determinants of poverty. The government tries to amend the problem by providing a public assistance program, welfare, which provides a comfortable resting ground for the poor. While the effects that welfare on poverty are apparent, the problems that caused the level we are currently at is unclear.
The articles “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty,” by Robert Kaestner, and “Various Theories on the Causes of Poverty,” by Harrell Rodgers provide some insight to the answers. Robert Kaestner’s piece, “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty” presents a viewpoint different from many, saying poverty is a result of drug and alcohol abuse among our lower class. He argues that this abuse, specifically, chronic abuse, reduces user’s physical and mental abilities, lowers productivity, and reduces earnings, increasing the likelihood of poverty.
His writing made strong correlations between the two issues, but also presents other factors that contribute to the level of poverty we are seeing today. He states that drug use is triggered by a “significant personal setback, often characterized Fox 2 by worsening economic position. ”(Kaestner) He defines the most influential determinants of poverty as wages, labor supply, marital status, out-of-wedlock birth, and welfare participation. Studies have found few adverse effects of drug use on wages and labor supply, but have found strong associations with marital status and out-of-wedlock birth.
His theory is supported by two national samples of young adults, the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), associating drug use with greater poverty. Kaestner says drug use reduces the user’s abilities. As a result, productivity declines, along with earnings, increasing the likelihood of poverty. His theory is strongly supported by the effects of drug use on marriage and family. “Drug use is expected to lower productivity, reduce earnings, and result in an increased likelihood of poverty. (Kaestner) Research has shown that drug user’s have a lower family income, which increases their likelihood of needing public assistance. Kaestner concludes that drug use is a serious problem, and actions made to decrease usage would have a positive outcome on poverty. Harrell Rodgers’s piece, “Various Theories on the Causes of Poverty,” gave insight to the complexity of the problem, and described ways to improve the level of poverty through looking at the defects in our culture and structure. He says agreeing on the causes of poverty is quite difficult, yet attributes a series of problems to the cause.
Rodgers begins his argument Myron Magnet’s ideas, “that the basic cause of poverty is the culture and behavior of the poor. ”(Magnet) Magnet states that the poor lack the inner resources to seize opportunities, and blame the system rather than seeking success. The poor’s lack of values and engagement in dysfunctional behavior, are what inevitably lead to the need of Fox 3 public assistance. The welfare program that was intended to be short term is the long term solution to many, enabling the capable. Rodgers presented another approach to cause of poverty by analyzing the social structure of the poor.
He attributes the lack of economic and political opportunity to be some causes of poverty. Rodgers hypothesizes that changes in the employment market caused less job opportunity for low skilled work. As a result, economic problems arise that increasing poverty and social problems in the inner cities. Rather than following the job opportunities, welfare was chosen as the easier option. Welfare appears to be the culprit on the war against poverty. The individuals of the poverty population need to “understand the best source of help, hope, and power is themselves. ”(West)
While agreeing on the causes of poverty is quite difficult, both articles introduced interesting concepts. Robert Kaestner’s argument is that drug use causes poverty. After researching the issue of poverty, I can see where the two go hand-in-hand. His article provides convincing data that depicts the strong correlation. His argument is one that is hard to prove, seeing as the cause and effect seems to be interchangeable, substance abuse causes poverty, and poverty causes substance abuse. His ideas about substance abuse adding to the problems we are experiencing today couldn’t be more correct.
Kaestner’s viewpoint is strongly supported by data, but hypothesis is difficult to prove. I felt that Rodgers’s better proved his various causes of poverty. His argument was strong because it included more than one cause of poverty. He views poverty as a complex problem that Fox 4 is going to require more than one solution. He places blame on the government for the level of poverty we are experiencing. The welfare program they introduced to financially assist the poor with their necessities, has provided the poor with a comfortable lifestyle, that has diminished any drive they had to better themselves.
Poverty is being engrained into the generations using it, children are more likely to be on welfare is their parents were on it. The program designed to help people is really holding them back. Although, welfare doesn’t identify the cause of poverty, many people suggest the abolishment of the welfare program would decrease our level of poverty. The causes of poverty remain undetermined, but both articles provide insights to the contributing factors. Harrell Rodgers’s “Various Theories on the Causes of Poverty,” along with Robert Kaestner’s “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty,” suggests ideas and multiple causes of poverty.
The cause/s of poverty is best determined by evaluating the social structure for a solution. The most-suggested plan when attempting to lower the poverty population is to abolish or drastically change to the welfare system. Initiatives introduced into the welfare system for working people could positively affect our countries level of poverty. The poor need to realize that only they can improve their quality of life. The complexity of the poverty problem requires multiple solutions if we want significantly change our level of poverty.