Here is a short documentary made by a professor at the University of California-Berkley about welfare and poverty. The idea for it came after the professor heard her students discussing welfare and government’s role in society. She was shocked to learn that these college-educated students, some of whom were on welfare themselves, harbored deep-seated, negative stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about welfare recipients. It was then that she realized that today’s young people have inherited the harsh Reagan-era ideology of how society should deal with the poor- mainly that welfare programs, like food stamps (now called SNAP), actually reinforce poverty by creating dependence on government assistance. After all, these programs are supposed to be temporary aid, so why should the poor get to live off them, right? Why can’t they just get up and work, right?
This film quite effectively sets the record straight. Some points the film discusses:
- Walmart workers make up a gigantic portion of welfare recipients- their low wages alone are not enough to live off of.
- Wealthier people get subsidies, too, by way of substantial tax breaks. Food stamps aren’t the only subsidies.
- Poverty doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of modern life- poverty is created and reinforced by laws and economic policies that create economic and social inequality.
I share this with you because in order to solve the problem of poverty, we need to put our heads together and find solutions, as well as discuss some already proposed solutions made by this film, as well as by bloggers, activists, academics, etc. Furthermore, we need to stop accepting the way things are and fight for something new, better, and more fair.