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  1. America's lower class
  2. Barbara Ehrenreich's case
  3. Middle America's perception of the lower class as a problem

We have examined throughout the length of this course the fact that America's lower class does not have the ability to voice their political concerns that the wealthier classes have and thus, when focusing on the issue of welfare it is important to realize that most of the policies enacted intend to influence the poor were based on middle- and upper-class perceptions of what is best for them. In other words, if the upper strata of American society believe the poor to be born into misfortune, they would be likely to institute welfare policies that greatly help them achieve upward mobility. However, the truth is that most of middle- and upper-class Americans seem to view the poor with contempt and condemnation, fueled greatly by their belief that the poor simply aren't trying hard enough.

[...] It seems evident to me after reading both Weaver and Ehrenreich that America's welfare state is certainly inadequate, yet changes to welfare policies have not affected a great deal of change. The real problem seems to lie in middle America's perception of the lower-class and their false impression of the upward-mobility they have access to. Ehrenreich showed that even working two jobs as a healthy, English-speaking, white American female is not enough to truly escape poverty, let alone survive it uncomfortably. [...]

[...] The point of all these ?typical-day? stories is that on the level of our society, America simply does not seem to value the lives of the poor nearly as much as we value our middle- and upper-class citizens. We seem to take it for granted that low- wage workplaces are held to a lower standard of decency (that is decency between workers and customers, decency of the workplace environment, and decency of managerial conduct), but why as a society do we not seem to care? [...]

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