Should Physicians and Nurses Be Allowed to Strike? Annotated Bibliography Example

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Annotated Bibliography

Broussard, C. Anne, & Joseph, Alfred L. Family Poverty in Diverse Contexts. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print.

In the book “Family Poverty in Diverse Contexts,” the editors have gathered a series of essays by several different writers, each of which looks at poverty from different perspectives. Some of the essays are filled with facts and figures, while others take a more personal approach to discussion of the topic. In sum, the effect of the book is one that leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of just how serious the problem of poverty in the U.S. really is.

The editors begin the book with an overview of the economic situation in the U.S. While the U.S. has one of the highest per capita income rates of any nation, it also has the highest rate of poverty in the industrialized world. An examination of the poverty rates of 18 different nations showed that the poverty rate in the U.S. was significantly higher than the other 17 nations on the list. As the manufacturing base in the U.S. continues to shrink, and manufacturing jobs move overseas, the disparity between the rich and the poor looks likely to keep growing at an alarming rate.

Cooper, Mary. H. “The Working Poor.” CQ Researcher, 5 (1995, Nov. 3): 969-992. Web. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/ 

In “The Working Poor: Will Budget Cuts Make Their Future Grimmer,” Mary H. Cooper discusses the growing disparity between upper- and lower-income workers. Cooper explores several factors that contribute to this deepening divide, including the changing nature of the U.S. economy, and looks at the effect that slashed government budgets hurt those who often are most in need of assistance.

Cooper provides a historical overview of the economic situation in the U.S. In the post-World War II era, the U.S. economy surged as the manufacturing sector rapidly expanded. In this age, there were a great number of well-paying jobs available to the American people, and even low-skilled workers could earn a solid paycheck by working on assembly lines or in other manufacturing positions. As the golden age of manufacturing began to wane, however, more and more people had to compete for fewer and fewer jobs. In recent decades, technology has emerged as one of the driving economic forces; unfortunately, many unskilled workers are left out of this sector, leaving a smaller number of people who are able to thrive in the new economy.

Cooper goes on to discuss the government programs that grew out of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal; such programs (like Social Security) were seen as necessary to ensure that the poorest Americans had an economic “safety net” that would keep them from economic calamity. As the economy has gone through a troubling, prolonged recession in recent years, however, many politicians (most notably conservative Republicans) have begun to call for budget cuts on those programs that provide assistance to the poor. At the federal level, many politicians are calling for social programs to be shifted to the states; the reality is that the states are no better-equipped to provide such services than is the federal government. Sadly, Cooper paints a grim picture of the future, pointing out that the shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy offers little hope that those at the bottom will ever have a real opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.

Mantsios, Gregory. “Media Magic: Making Class Invisible.” Race, Class, and Gender in the United States Ed. Rothenberg, Paula S. New York: Macmillan, 2006. 636-643. Print.      

In his essay “Media Magic: Making Class Invisible,” author Gregory Mantios examines the ways in which the media portrays –and mischaracterizes- those who live in poverty in the United Sates. Media outlets almost never provide accurate coverage of the millions of people who live in poverty, leaving many people to view poverty either as an aberration, or as something that poor people have brought upon themselves. Conversely, the wealthy are portrayed as inherently superior to the poor simply because they are wealth; these portrayals combine to form a picture of the poor that is wildly inaccurate, and in the long term, harmful to all Americans.

When the poor are portrayed in the media, notes Mantios, it is often in the context of crime coverage. When someone who is poor is covered by the media for having committed a crime, the message is that the poor and crime are things that go hand I hand. When someone who is wealthy is seen to have committed a crime, however, the media often treats such a story as if it is an aberration, sending the message that the poor are not just poor, but are practically a criminal class. Further, asserts Mantios, the media teaches the middle class to fear blacks and Latinos, despite the fact that violent crime is more often associated with grinding poverty than it is with race or ethnicity.

Just as the poor are either ignored, or portrayed in a bad light by the media, the wealthy are portrayed as “fascinating and benevolent.” Their interests are given extensive media coverage –Mantios cites the examples of stock market coverage and international business news- despite the fact that much of such coverage is actually irrelevant to most people. In this way, the media reinforces the idea that “the concerns of the wealthy are the concerns of us all.” The imbalanced coverage of the poor offered by the media is not only inaccurate, it is also damaging as it continues to reinforce the attitudes of society that make poverty systemic, endemic, and difficult to alleviate.

Conclusion

The various authors and editors who wrote the books and essays discussed herein pull no punches where the truth is concerned. Though each examines the issue of poverty from different perspectives, the overall effect of each work is the same: the problem of poverty is systemic, and it is growing worse every year. The authors all strive to explain, in terms most readers can understand, why the economic situation is what it is, and each makes it clear that the problem of poverty is harmful not just for the poor, but for all Americans. The combined weight of tens of millions of poverty-stricken Americans causes a drag on the entire economy, depressing wags and sapping the strength of government. What is also clear from reading these books and essays is the problems that have led to the current state of affairs are not being adequately addressed Many of the economic and political factors that contribute to systemic poverty continue unabated; until all of the American people begin to truly understand the seriousness of the problem, it is unlikely that anything will be done to help change the situation.

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