There’s an article from The New York Times titled Changed Life of the Poor: Better Off, but Far Behind by Annie Lowery. Its about the Senate failing to pass a bill to raise the federal minimum wage. It highlights that consumption habits of middle class and poor Americans are not that different, calling it the “WallMart Effect”. Poor American families have TVs, cell phones, and personal computers just like their wealthier middle class counterparts. To be honest, by the wealth standards, I would fall into this category. I’m a poor college student, and while I don’t own a TV I certainly have a cell phone and computer.
There’s a graph in the article that shows while the cost of education, housing, child care, and health care have risen; the cost of TVs, phones, and electronics have plummeted in comparison. I find this to be particularly disturbing. It begs the question, what is the true sign of wealth in today’s society? Is it a big screen TV? Or, is it being able to pay for your kid to go to college and graduate with little to no debt? If we’re going with the latter, there’s going to be many more poor people in the future.
Yet, there still seems to be this blame game of poor people because they have the connivence of technology in their homes. In this clip, Fox News is faulting poor people for having refrigerators. That’s ridiculous. I believe discussions around poverty in this country need to change. We need to stop blaming each other, and move towards solutions where everyone could afford education, health care, housing, and yes refrigerators.