The site playspent.org is a really good tool for explaining why it is so hard to maintain and save money working poor. I wish I had known about this resource when I was trying to explain to my mother why minimum wage works are not able to properly care for themselves finically. It is my firm belief that if you contribute to a society, in any job, you should be able to afford to live in that society and meet your basic needs.
The distribution of wealth in America is grossly skewed with the top 1% owning 40% of the nation’s wealth (Politizane, 2012). An enlightening YouTube video looking at wealth inequality in America can be found here. Especially when the 2018 budget cuts huge amounts of funding from Medicare and Medicaid.
Higher education serves as another barrier to the poor. Degree earners typically have higher paying jobs but pursuing a degree is expensive in the US. Everyone should have access to higher education if that is their desire. Education should not be limited to the wealthy. The cost of tuition varies based on state residency; the average in-state resident tuition at a public university public is $9,650 and out-of-state students pay an average of $24,930 a year (College Data, 2017.)
As it stands now, one of the only ways for students to finance college is to take out student’s loans. The Obama administration created protections for students taking student loans, as well as increasing the Pell grant. We saw from our reading that in 2013, $28,400 was the average graduates owed banks from student loans. Having an amount like this hanging over your head, simply for getting an education is unacceptable.
I believe that policymakers should consider better funding at all education levels and the possibility of cheaper or free tuition for public universities. I know some schools in states like New York have granted free education for students with family incomes less than 100,000. There are rigid requirements around this funding, but I think it could be a step in the right direction to provide equal access to education.
As consumers, we should push for better education programs from elementary to high school and affordable or free options for higher education. The American education system is in a sad place right now. We should be investing in education rather than crippling people with debt.
College Data. (2017). What’s the Price Tag for a College Education? Retrieved from https://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064
Politizan. (2012). Wealth Inequality in American [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM