An American Dream


Madison Crumpton

America is a money and power- driven country, whether that be on an individual, community, or on a national scale. While money is seen as good, the lack thereof is a real problem that many American families face. Poverty and unemployment ultimately lead to government assistance, but is the assistance really necessary? (Photo courtesy of Madison Crumpton)

Poverty: a seven-letter word that stirs a range of emotions. Some find the topic unworthy of their time because it does not affect them, and so it divides people based on their beliefs surrounding the issue. Others are devoted to doing everything they can to solve the problem.

“We are a developed country so we have a better economy and our citizens generally have a better income than undeveloped countries,” an anonymous student told the Bengal Beat.

President Trump is another tough topic for people to talk about without dividing themselves. Like all presidents, he has done good and bad things, but that is dependent on people’s opinions. The median household income has increased to $63,000 as of 2018. Around 1.6 million women were hired full time since 2018. The poverty level is currently the lowest it has ever been since 2001 and 1.4 million Americans have been freed from the bondage of poverty since 2017.

“It is helpful to give someone assistance, but too much assistance will make the person never want to get a job, leaving them too reliant on the government,” said an anonymous Brashier student.

While these are all positives, Trump has done things that can be perceived as negative. As of April 1st, 2020, the government plans on limiting the number of people receiving SNAP benefits. SNAP is a program that puts money on an EBT card once a month and allows for eligible people to buy groceries at most general stores. It is estimated that near 688,000 people will go without SNAP benefits. SNAP is a time-limited benefit, you may receive them for only so long and you must work so many hours a month. Before the latest reform, states with high-unemployment rates could issue waivers which would extend the amount of time someone could receive these “food stamps”. Now the government is narrowing the amount of areas that can give these waivers and is limiting who they may give waivers to. This will potentially save $5.5 billion dollars in less than a few years, but it will also cut off benefits and aid for many.

“I think that the government helps and it isn’t really the people’s fault but more of a community problem,” added an anonymous Brashier student.

Poverty is a problem in both the community of the Greenville area and nationwide. There are families who need help with things such as SNAP from the government and then there are people who go to local food banks or need help providing lunches for their children through the free and reduced lunch programs in local schools.

“Approximately 38,000 Greenville County Schools students receive free or reduced price meals benefits,” said Joe Urban, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Greenville County Schools.

 After the latest SNAP reform takes place, the unemployment rate and the poverty rate could rise, or the exact opposite. Seeing how they will receive less help may encourage people to work more, thus decreasing unemployment rates. Yet at the same time, it may cause people to lose hope, which will lead to a rise in the amount of people not working and the amount of people that go hungry. Regardless, there are many ways to get help; there are food banks, career centers, stores like Miracle Hill, and of course government assistance. Living in poverty isn’t the American Dream, but for some, it is just a day-to-day reality.