A Country That Won’t Help It’s Own

Samantha Inesta
Human Rights Fellow
Founder/Director
BeaSister2aSister

Poverty is everywhere and has hit the United States pretty hard. Even though the rates have lowered, according to the US Census Bureau, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of Americans living in poverty. It is thought that as long as you have a job and you’re making some kind of money, you’re okay. This is a lie that most people have to face on a daily basis. A large majority of those receiving public assistance from the government are actually working, they’re just not getting paid enough to live, or take care or their families. Of the $3.7 trillion federal budget, only 10% of it is being used for safety net programs to help people who have lost jobs and suddenly find themselves on unemployment and unable to get another job right away-or at all. More of the budget goes into defense and security (about 16%) than it does to help Americans get on their feet again. Part of this is because society has bought into the myth that anyone receiving government benefits are lazy, refuse to work, have children so they can get more money or once they have benefits they stop looking for work. This lie is mostly used against people of color. But because there is such a stigma attached to it, once a person finds themselves in that situation, they are ashamed to ask for help because they don’t want to be categorized as such even though it is there for them. You’re made to feel like a criminal, a leech, a drain on society.

The US is definitely a country divided, not only by racism, misogyny and politics but by rich and poor. President Trump is threatening to take away public benefits like food stamps and cash assistance which means the poverty rate will jump to an all time high. For a president who calls people that need help lazy when all he ever did was help himself and his buddies is egocentric at best. This will affect women the most because they are the caregivers and single moms who are trying to provide a good life for themselves and their children. Women working two and three jobs are still lacking but try to make up for it with cash assistance and programs that help struggling mothers. Single women feel the sting as well, they are not provided with much help because it is thought that being single doesn’t require much. As if they don’t need rent money, money for food and medical care. It will be worse for women coming out of trafficking and domestic violence situations. It’s hard enough for them to find work due to their past but taking away something that will help them make a step in the right direction is unscrupulous. Putting these women in a poverty cycle and then demonizing them for taking part in what’s being offered is absurd. Employment is a big factor for these women to survive and overcome but if they have a low quality of life, finding a job will make it just as difficult.

With this type of standard of living the US cannot afford to be a capitalist state anymore, they will need to move to socialist reforms. Things like, food, housing, education and medical attention continue to become a privilege not a right for most people. How can one of the wealthiest countries in the world allow their citizens to be treated in this way? One reason is elitism has taken over as the new socioeconomic platform on which the rich are running on. They use gaslighting tactics on how great the economy is and businesses are hitting their financial goals at a record high and life is good. That picture turns gray when you mix the reality of the same businesses not paying their employees a living wage, housing is out of reach and education leads to mounds of student debt. Not to mention exorbitant doctors fees for visits and necessary medication. The circus that is our political sphere is overwrought by hard working people and their families wondering when they will be able to afford a home, get a better job and actually have a politician that will really help them and not pay lip service to appease higher earning constituents.

The European Union has a whole litany of political, social and economic rights that help their citizens improve their daily lives. Some EU countries make sure that their citizens are employed and and treated well. Businesses do not impose the “At-Will” clause in their employment contracts the way the US does, there is a little more security. For instance, in the US if you come in wearing a shirt your boss doesn’t like or your physical appearance isn’t pleasing he/she can terminate your position and they don’t have to tell you why. This is a huge contributor to poverty and lose of employment. All of this equal opportunity legal requirements doesn’t really mean anything.

This all ties into human rights and how this society and it’s citizens view what is given to some people and taken away from others with no form of explanation as to why or how they got to that point. The only way your rights are protected is if you have a documented illness or disability, if your a perfectly healthy human being willing to work it’s a problem. Everyone’s rights as someone who lives and works in the US should be protected no matter what physical or mental state you’re in. It’s human decency. To pull the rug out from under someone and then deny them access to benefits that will help them and their family is just cruel. The image of this country on the world stage is a picture of riches and prosperity but once the smoke clears that picture is a scene of desperate faces, hungry children and adults just trying to make it in one of the most riches countries in the world.

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Women And Revolution is a blog designed to raise the issues that are affecting women all over the world while giving it journalistic value. W.A.R is a division of BeaSister2aSister a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation and abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and become self sustainable. If you would like to learn more you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org or you can email us at info@beasister2asister.org. If you are interested in seeing women and girls everywhere break free from inter-dependency, please consider donating online as a one time or sustainable donor. We are committed to seeing every woman walk in total freedom.

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