The low income working class is one of the largest groups in America.  You can spot its members working at Wal-Mart or McDonalds, in large or small factories, in clerical jobs, and toiling in agricultural areas.  This group includes single individuals, unmarried cohabitors, married childless couples, and families.  The common denominator is that they are all wage earners, they earn very little, and they are dependent on receiving a paycheck every week so that they don’t have to borrow money to eat.
Most low income workers have only one job, a low-paying job that meets or slightly exceeds the nation’s minimum wage level.  Some workers have two or three jobs – consider  a cleaning woman who works for a number of different clients.  These workers will do almost anything to please their employers.  They don’t want to lose their job. A cynic will call them wage/slaves.
The future is not promising for low income working class persons.  Low income workers often live with the following anxieties:
  • The fear of contracting a health problem or emergency that takes them off their job for a short or long period, with a loss of income.
  • The fear that their current job will be destroyed by technology and robots will replace them.
  • The fear that living costs will rise faster than wages (inflation worry)
  • The fear that they will have no savings, or inadequate savings to retire on.
  • The fear that they cannot help their children or their parents who need financial or personal care.
  • The fear that Republican Party leaders will manage to kill programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Fortunately our country is still set up with social amelioration programs to help low income persons who have lost their job or income.  During the Great Depression of the 1930s, President Franklln D. Roosevelt launched “New Deal” social programs and policies to assist afflicted wage earners. Within the first One Hundred Days, Congress enacted 15 major pieces of legislation establishing New Deal agencies and programs. The government created Social Security, unemployment insurance, federal agriculture subsidies and other programs.  The Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided work for nurses, librarians, artists, and craftsmen. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provided jobs and hydroelectric power to areas in the country. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) worked to ease the desperate plight of farmers.


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