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In the article by The Economists, “The poor in America In need of help” speaks on poverty in the United States of America, specifically in the time period during the term of Barack Obama. The Economist’s take on the argument of global poverty, specifically in the United States, holds a strong argument and thorough research and statistics to display the lifestyle of the 10.5 million Americans ensnared in poverty, whilst giving several paragraphs of factual, unbiased evidence as to reasons for the high percentage of poverty in America, without giving solutions to remedy the situation. With a strong voice and credited use of logistics and appeal to emotion, the writer for The Economist exhibits a strong argument that will give the audience a new stance on the topic of poverty in America. “The poor in America In Need of Help” holds a wide audience of generally any normal citizen who has a general interest in either politics or everyday economics, which will help empower the article to influence many people.
The article begins with strong pathos for several paragraphs that hooks the reader by telling a story of a destitute woman who recently lost her home due to a work accident that left her incapable of performing her old work duties. The Economist’s writer uses very strong diction that captures the reader’s attention and pulls the audience in to continue reading. After leading with two related anecdotes, the article turns towards a more factual, logistical form of writing. Leading with the staggering statistic; “Some 15% of Americans (Around 46.2 Million people) live below the poverty line”(5), The Economist immediately shocks the reader by exposing the immediate truth of the sheer amount of people in America living in poverty. The first page of the article, as shown, sets the tone for the rest of the article: a strong balance of heavy pathos, then solidifying the argument right after with hard facts.
Following right after, The Economist explores the political side of the American economy. The government plays a large role in attempting to aid those in poverty. American politicians have been shown to try and help the very poor throughout history, up until recent years. “Mitt Romney famously said he was not ‘concerned with the very poor’ because they have a safety net to cover them”(7). Furthermore, it is written that Barack Obama spoke of the poor only once, during his two-four year terms. The purpose for these political examples may be to showcase the harsh reality that helping the poor has become too expensive for new presidents to take action. This is later expanded and shown to have many possible negative outcomes. The writer analyzes the impact of decreasing political action to aid the poor, by giving examples such as, “Deteriorating family structure among the poor threatens to trap poor children at the bottom of the income ladder for life”(8). The author follows in a later paragraph showing more examples of specifically youth poverty, and the racial aspect of the impoverished in order to further break down the argument.
The Economist follows with a paragraph that displays the demographic relation to poverty. A stance may be attempted to be made here by showing the correlation between race and average rate of poverty. With all things considered, the Economist writes, “over a quarter of both blacks and Latinos live in poverty, while only a tenth of whites do”(11). The writer does little with this point, and barely elaborates on the topic. This is a weak point in the writer’s argument, as occasionally it seems as though the writer throws in information that seems rather irrelevant. This may turn away some readers as this information seems very out of the blue. However, the writer follows with more in depth explanation of poverty’s impact towards children. When comparing two children from opposite ends of the economic scale, the poorer of the two will have a remarkable difference in capability to be ready to start school at the age of five. Other correlations include: higher likelihood to be convicted for a crime during teenage years, higher chance of becoming a teen parent, and a decreased probability of graduating high school with decent grade averages. The Economist’s writer gives several examples and arguments that are seemingly vague, yet drive a strong point to the reader about the relation between poverty and its effect towards children. This appeals to emotions, and could as well appeal to logos.
Relating to the introductory paragraphs to the article, the writer expands on an idea that connects to millions of Americans. The Economist states, “motivated workers with little formal education,…would have been able to find factory jobs that paid a decent wage with benefits. But low-skilled and humdrum jobs, particularly in manufacturing, have gone overseas, or fallen victim to automation”(15). This topic hits home to well over the ten million Americans who live below the poverty line. Job outsourcing carries a very strong negative connotation with it to most American citizens. Families of loved ones or friends who currently struggle low paying jobs can readily relate to the topic discussed. This is smart for the writer to add in, as it expands the article’s relatability to more readers. The author expands this idea with several statistics. A following statistic shows that hourly wages for private, non supervised workers has only risen by a measly 0.2% annually for the past three decades, while wages dropped significantly between 2007 and 2011(16). These years coincide with the recent economic recession.
Finalizing the argument, The Economist states down several key points in order to conclude their stance. The author writes on topics such as the political influence in poverty and discusses the aid currently offered by the government. This is important to the reader as this information will leave the reader with a sense of well being, knowing that their government is putting forth efforts to help the situation. As written, “in 2010 $55 billion was paid out through the EITC, and $23 billion for the child tax credit”(25). Several tax benefits are offered through the government to low-wage families, specifically towards those who are married with children. This example of logos shows the large impact that government aid has for impoverished families.
The Economist accomplished a article complete with plenty of examples of pathos and logos. The argument towards the damage poverty can cause is established through thorough use of statistics and anecdotes that can relate to millions of viewers. A reader could have possibly changed their opinion towards the extreme impact poverty has right in their home country. This article has the potential to inspire a reader to start contributing more to their community to benefit those trapped in poverty. The writer also provides possible solutions by describing the government aid currently being provided to those in need, which leaves readers with a better feeling towards the situation. Overall, the Economist compiled a strong argument with effective use of rhetorical techniques to drive their point to a broad audience.
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