STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

A Misguided View on Poverty

Joined: 4/14/2013
Posts: 13
If you were paying attention to the news during the past couple of weeks, you likely heard of the fast-food-worker strikes in which workers demanded, amongst other things, a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Of course if you had the pleasure to be around others when hearing this news story, you likely heard some curmudgeonly grumbles along the lines of “Are they out of their minds?” or “I never made that when I worked those jobs!”
This attitude is understandable to a certain degree. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would more than double it from the current $7.25 an hour, and concerns about job elimination and price increases under such conditions are legitimate; President Obama has expressed support for a more-reasonable increase to $10.10 an hour. But this attitude can also be a dangerous one, and is indicative of a larger problem with the American psyche.
This larger problem is the lack of empathy that so many middle and upper class Americans have for the poor. It’s how we can justify things like recent food stamp cuts or failing to extend unemployment benefits. There is a tendency to see the poor as lazy or as exploiters of the system, and to amplify anecdotal evidence in order to support this worldview.
At the heart of this attitude is a view of poverty as a temporary stop-off for those climbing the socioeconomic ladder or as a place where the lazy rest in the social safety net. Too many people ignore the advantages that they’ve had in life when they compare their success to the success of others; consequentially, they are unable to empathize with those who haven’t been as successful. A job at McDonald’s might be a way to earn a few extra dollars while going through high school or college for someone from an affluent family, but for others it is a permanent dead-end job that generates income so inadequate that they must rely on social-welfare programs.
Raising the minimum wage is no panacea for our country’s economic inequality, nor is any single policy change. But if we want to be able to have a serious conversation about poverty in this country, we need to ditch the view of the poor as people who are perfectly capable of helping themselves. The ladder of social mobility must be built and maintained by all of us.
Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us: is a free blogging and writing community for high school students that allows teens the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Check out our national Teen Trend Reports, and make sure to explore the writing contests for high school students, inspirational videos for teens, statistics about students, quotes about high school, and other resources about High School here on  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a teacher - review our Language Arts Teaching Resources.

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month. is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests

Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests

2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests

2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests

Stage of Life Mission Statement

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy