We Need Poor People

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Sad but true, we need poor people
There are many books out giving solutions and theories as to how to go about putting an end to poverty in the United States. Books like Senator and presidential candidate John Edward's Ending Poverty in America: How to restore the American Dream, academic economist Jeffrey Sachs's The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time and Robin Marris's Ending Poverty are unproven, unimpressive and unrealistic dreams of how our society should go about eliminating poverty. We need poor people in our society to maintain a solid, functioning economy on local, state and federal levels.

Firstly, as stated by Herbert Gans, we need poor people to do the physically dirty or dangerous, temporary, dead end and underpaid, undignified and menial jobs. Society can fill these jobs by paying qualified professionals higher wages or it can force people who have no other choice but to do these dirty jobs at low wages. Poverty functions to provide a low-wage labor pool that is unable to be unwilling to perform dirty work.

Secondly, there is a job market created by the existence of poverty. This job market includes any occupations that serve or service the poor and professions that protect the rest of society from them. The prison population would be tiny without the poor, which in turn would trim the number of workers needed to maintain them. The police force, in its entirety, would be unnecessary. Welfare and social workers would not be needed. According to the United States Department of Labor statistics, social workers held about 562,000 jobs in 2004. Over half of these positions, 272,000, are child, family and school social workers. The primary functions of these welfare workers is to assist families, senior citizens and single parents with problems like inadequate housing, unemployment, medical treatment, teenage pregnancy, transportation, and the placement of neglected, abandoned or abused children. The majority of the problems faced...
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