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Is it All that Difficult to Enter the Middle-Class or Above in the Current US System?
in Politics

By xMathFanxxMathFanx 102 Pts
Is it All that Difficult to Enter the Middle-Class or Above in the Current American System?

Regardless of race, gender, class background, family structure/background, ect. ect, is it all that difficult to enter the Middle-Class or above in the current American system. That is, is there any genuine need to live a life of poverty in America (for an extended period of time--on the scale of decades)?

Note: The Middle-Class in 2016 defined by Pew Research Center was those earning 67-200% of the median income (per household), or $39,560-$118,080.

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Now, given our current system, everyone has enough opportunity to find a way to attend a College for an Engineering, Statistics, Computer Science, Business, ect. degree that would potentially set them up for at least decent to good paying jobs after graduation. Even a completely poor person has an opportunity for this since there are Government Stafford Loans that everyone qualifies for, regardless of credit history, no co-signer needed, and is enough to first attend a Community College plus apartment (if you work part-time also) and later to a State School program or even to a University of Florida type school (depending on the tuition of the big state school program in one's respective state). From there, PhD programs are free, in fact, they pay you a stipend to attend. This is enough to set someone up for life (if used wisely--and they can ultimately get into nearly any major University by Grad School regardless of what they are confined to/able to attend for Undergraduate degree). Here are important points to note about the University system in the US (in regards to this topic):

1. There is a clear hierarchy in Academia, and it is wise to understand the "Game" in order to best play it
2. No matter what your previous grades/schooling have been like, there are ways you can still get into virtually any level program for your Undergrad still (including the Elite level schools)
3. No matter what Undergrad program you go to, there are ways to go to virtually any Grad School Program
3. Even if your financial resources are limited, there are ways to get into good schools and be able to pay for it all the way up through PhD
4. The level of school you attend is going to greatly effect how difficult the courses are, and thus the GPA you will be able to get
a) Community College will be at a very reasonable level of difficulty as will a Public State School Program
b) A school around the 100-150 level (national rank) will definitely be noticeably more challenging than CC or State School (for the same program)
c) A school around the 50 level will be very challenging and completely different than CC or State School level
d) A school at the Elite level (roughly the top 20) would require one to be at an elite level for that stage in order to pass (top few% or so of people inclined for that technical subject at that level)
5. In the modern era, there are countless resources available that thoroughly teach any given technical subject area for free or a limited fee, and would prove to be an invaluable asset in learning said material (either for formal training/school or self-study).

Now, if a person's true interests lie in Art History however since they are coming from a poor economic background, one would have enough money (if used wisely) to first get a degree in a practical subject (e.g. Business, Engineering, ect.) that would set them up with a decent/good paying job which they could function as a stepping stone and safety net that allows them to go back to College for the subject matter they are truly interested in and pursue that career path henceforth.

This is to say, although the current system is far from optimal and certainly does not have "equality of opportunity" in a strict sense, there currently are ways to reach the highest level outcomes even from the bottom of US society for anyone. Now, Stafford Loans are flawed (in my view) since the amount of money you are eligible to receive is only compatible with a State-School of low college ranking (unless you happen to live in a state such as Florida where the major Public University were only about $7000 tuition per year). However, if Stafford Loans (Government Loans) were expanded to say the Graduate school level of $18,000-20,000 per year (rather than $12,000) than regardless of State one is in, family financial background, ect. ect., any person would be afforded "Equality of Opportunity" as it pertained to going to College as they would have the means to attend a Major University for their Undergrad which opens the door for the highest possibilities after that point (i.e. to follow ones intellectual interests as a career path and/or acquire the credentials needed to land a high paying job--depending on what the individual values more). Furthermore, Stafford Loans apply to Trade Schools as well. Therefore, any person who is savvy enough to play the "game" wisely could either (A) attain even the highest levels of education in Academia (B ) attend a Trade School & get solid job training to become an Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter, ect. ect. which typically is 1-2 year programs that cost between $1000-$10,000 total and sets them up with a job which on average earn about $50,000 a year (a solid income).
Now, one of the staples of America is (ostensibly) the open/fair opportunity for all citizens toward economic/class mobility (up & down the latter) based upon how savvy they are at "playing the game" as well as how hard they are willing to work for their "spot". Stafford Loans (as current) go a long way toward fulfilling that "staple social contract" of America & if it were expanded just a bit more than currently, then it would completely satisfy that "social contract". Also, this would eliminate all arguments to the contrary--as in, nobody would be able to claim that "the system is holding them down perpetually" as it would be overtly false. Note, this also wouldn't cost much more at all compared to now, as it is only a several thousand dollar extension that (very likely) most people would not be savvy enough to capitalize on anyway. Compare that to the "Free College" program promoted by the Social Dems. that would be mandated in tax dollars, regardless of who is or is not using the system (which would cost orders of magnitude more money to fund in tax-payers' dollars). This would actually objectively create quite a "fair" socio-economic system as everyone has equal access to this opportunity regardless of race/class/gender/family structure/ect. ect. & it would be up to them (the individual) to do with it what they will (Note: it already is like that--however, as I explained previously, simply expanding this ever so slightly more would make an enormous difference (for reasons I explained)).

Here is a link to the Stafford Loan program in the US:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/l...dized#how-much

Remember, the Classes are defined by a three-person household standard. That is, a married couple and child (or less--e.g. independent individual, ect.). Now, a household with one member that had a Trade degree (and corresponding Profession) as an Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter, ect. would make on average $50,000 and therefore would be part of the middle-class. If two members of the household had a similar background (or above), then they would be at the 6-figure income mark.

This begs the question, what keeps people in lifelong poverty? It is certainly understandable to go through significant rough-patches at a point or points (particularly & obviously when in their youth and still attempting to establish oneself, or being laid off from a job/position, and many other potential circumstances, ect. ect.). However, if one were approaching 40 years old for instance, and below the poverty line their entire life, why not utilize government loans and attend a Trade school for $1000-$10,000 total for and within 1-2 years they could be earning on average $50,000? Or, likewise, attend College for the first time or go back for a practical degree that would earn them a solid income?
joecavalry
  1. Is it All that Difficult to Enter the Middle-Class or Above in the Current US System?

    10 votes
    1. Yes
      30.00%
    2. No
      70.00%
    3. Other
        0.00%



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Arguments

  • No, the middle class should be easy to enter if you have a good education and good job.
    xMathFanx
    DebateIslander and a DebateIsland.com lover. 
  • It is hard to enter the middle class from poverty. The current welfare in place keeps poor people poor. Let me give you an example: food stamps and housing assistance. These are some of the types of welfare that are currently in place in the U.S. Lets say in total the welfare gives you $1000 each month. Now, you earn $1500 a month. The limit of money you can earn to keep your welfare is $1800. Even if you take some time in between your job and finding a new and better job, you would be worse off then before. Let's say you earn $2000 for your new job. In most place in the U.S., it is enough to be considered middle class. But why is it worse? It is because now your welfare does not support you. Before your new job, you had a home and earn $2500, after your new job, you are homeless and only have $2000. That's how difficult to leave poverty in the U.S.
    Pogue
    i fart cows
  • PoguePogue 498 Pts
    @BaconToes I would also like to add the high-income inequality in the U.S
    I could either have the future pass me or l could create it. 

    “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” - Benjamin Franklin  So flat Earthers, man-made climate change deniers, and just science deniers.

    I friended myself! 
  • Pogue said:
    @BaconToes I would also like to add the high-income inequality in the U.S

    High income inequality, although certainly worthy of discussion, is orthogonal to the matter at hand
  • BaconToes said:
    It is hard to enter the middle class from poverty. 

    Provide a coherent argument as to what would stop a reasonably savvy person from becoming a Plumber and earning a solid income, on average $50,000
  • I think that it is pretty easy to get into the middle class but it also depends on where you began and how poor you were. For example, if you moved to the US and had nothing I think it would take a very long time but let's say you were an immigrant from Italy and you had some money so it'd be easier to get into the middle class.
  • MikeMike 86 Pts
    edited January 19

    In a free society supporting a free market system one’s movement throughout the “Classes” of society is a function of one’s pursuit (aka, work) striving to achieve their goals. Take Bill Gates for example, he doesn’t have a college education and look where he is today.   

    The key is follow your interest. If you are interested in a field (like a hobby), education will come easy, whether in a trade, college, or self-education. The down side is, after landing a job in that field, like any other hobby time will pass too quickly, for it would seem you never worked a day in your life.

  • xMathFanx said:

    Provide a coherent argument as to what would stop a reasonably savvy person from becoming a Plumber and earning a solid income, on average $50,000
    I think @BaconToes did a pretty good job at pointing out the main problem.  Why would a reasonably savvy person give up a guaranteed income when the only way they can lose it is by either getting a full-time job or dying?  If they need more money, they can always work in the underground economy, anything from an unlicensed daycare or handyman to drug dealing or prostitution.  They can even get a job as long as they fewer than 16 hours. 

    This is the reason why the Welfare to Work program the Clinton signed worked so well.  Setting up work requirements to be eligible for welfare from a single program, TANF, cut welfare rolls by half.  Imagine what would happen if the other 184 federal means tested welfare programs were likewise amended.  If it worked out similarly to the TANF requirement, and there's no reason to think it wouldn't, we could save half a trillion dollars in government spending annually. 
  • CYDdharta said:
    xMathFanx said:

    Provide a coherent argument as to what would stop a reasonably savvy person from becoming a Plumber and earning a solid income, on average $50,000
    I think @BaconToes did a pretty good job at pointing out the main problem.  Why would a reasonably savvy person give up a guaranteed income when the only way they can lose it is by either getting a full-time job or dying?  If they need more money, they can always work in the underground economy, anything from an unlicensed daycare or handyman to drug dealing or prostitution.  They can even get a job as long as they fewer than 16 hours. 

    This is the reason why the Welfare to Work program the Clinton signed worked so well.  Setting up work requirements to be eligible for welfare from a single program, TANF, cut welfare rolls by half.  Imagine what would happen if the other 184 federal means tested welfare programs were likewise amended.  If it worked out similarly to the TANF requirement, and there's no reason to think it wouldn't, we could save half a trillion dollars in government spending annually. 
    Welfare is a separate discussion (that I would be happy to engage in elsewhere).  This thread is about the feasibility of attaining Middle-Class status or above given the current US system
  • xMathFanx said:
    Welfare is a separate discussion (that I would be happy to engage in elsewhere).  This thread is about the feasibility of attaining Middle-Class status or above given the current US system
    Welfare is the biggest impediment to rising from poverty to the middle class.  It's not possible to have a conversation about one without the other.
    BaconToes
  • CYDdharta said:
    xMathFanx said:
    Welfare is a separate discussion (that I would be happy to engage in elsewhere).  This thread is about the feasibility of attaining Middle-Class status or above given the current US system
    Welfare is the biggest impediment to rising from poverty to the middle class.  It's not possible to have a conversation about one without the other.
    No, its not.  All one has to do to join the Middle-Class is learn a Trade.  It is that simple.  Now, if a person made very poor choices early in life (that could have happened for a variety of reason) then that is going to complicate the matter in the extreme 
  • xMathFanx said:
    No, its not.  All one has to do to join the Middle-Class is learn a Trade.  It is that simple.  Now, if a person made very poor choices early in life (that could have happened for a variety of reason) then that is going to complicate the matter in the extreme 
    If they can do as well by just doing nothing, why would they go to the trouble and expense of learning a trade?
    BaconToes
  • CYDdharta said:
    xMathFanx said:
    No, its not.  All one has to do to join the Middle-Class is learn a Trade.  It is that simple.  Now, if a person made very poor choices early in life (that could have happened for a variety of reason) then that is going to complicate the matter in the extreme 
    If they can do as well by just doing nothing, why would they go to the trouble and expense of learning a trade?

    You can't t do nearly just as well.  The Middle-Class in the USA is standardly defined as starting at $40,000 
  • xMathFanx said:

    You can't t do nearly just as well.  The Middle-Class in the USA is standardly defined as starting at $40,000 
    It depends on what state you live in.



    https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/the_work_versus_welfare_trade-off_2013_wp.pdf

    xMathFanx
  • xMathFanxxMathFanx 102 Pts
    edited January 20
    @CYDdharta ;

    Your chart is informative however this would just appear to make it simpler to join the Middle Class than if it were not part of the equation(?)
  • xMathFanx said:
    @CYDdharta ;

    Your chart is informative however this would just appear to make it simpler to join the Middle Class than if it were not part of the equation(?)
    How so?  People lose those benefits when they have an income.
  • CYDdharta said:
    xMathFanx said:
    @CYDdharta ;

    Your chart is informative however this would just appear to make it simpler to join the Middle Class than if it were not part of the equation(?)
    How so?  People lose those benefits when they have an income.

    (1) Depending on the State, they may enter the Middle-Class via Government "handouts"
    (2) If you are in a State where the Welfare benefits are below the Middle Class line, then you have more money and time to attend a night class (or such) at the local Community College or Trade School that will ultimately lead one out of the Welfare situation and into the Middle Class 
  • xMathFanx said:

    (1) Depending on the State, they may enter the Middle-Class via Government "handouts"
    (2) If you are in a State where the Welfare benefits are below the Middle Class line, then you have more money and time to attend a night class (or such) at the local Community College or Trade School that will ultimately lead one out of the Welfare situation and into the Middle Class 
    "Middle class" really depends on the area in which one lives.  Even if welfare benefits are not enough to raise one to middle class, they are more than enough to keep one from risking them by getting  job.
  • @xMathFanx
    "No, its not.  All one has to do to join the Middle-Class is learn a Trade.  It is that simple.  Now, if a person made very poor choices early in life (that could have happened for a variety of reason) then that is going to complicate the matter in the extreme"
    Learning a trade isn't all that simple. You would not be able to work your full-time job to be able to learn a trade. By using the example I gave before, you would not have enough time to earn and support your family.
    "You can't t do nearly just as well.  The Middle-Class in the USA is standardly defined as starting at $40,000"
    Yes, $40,000 for a family of three, not a sole breadwinner.
    i fart cows
  • @xMathFanx
    "(1) Depending on the State, they may enter the Middle-Class via Government 'handouts'
    "
    To enter Middle-Class, you would have to have an income, not Government "handout." You would need to be able to feed yourself without leaning on the government.
    "(2) If you are in a State where the Welfare benefits are below the Middle Class line, then you have more money and time to attend a night class (or such) at the local Community College or Trade School that will ultimately lead one out of the Welfare situation and into the Middle Class"
    For academic schooling, you would need to have money, and time. Night class can be very stressing after a long workday, and you dozing off in class would not help you get a trade. Lack of sleep is also a problem. After your full-time job, and going to night school, you would have to eat, shower, and then you can sleep. You will lose focus on both your work and school. 
    i fart cows
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 123 Pts
    It is not very difficult to enter the Middle Class overall; if I, an immigrant with merely a laptop and $1,300 in my pocket (and with very questionable social skills), managed to nearly-enter it in merely 4 years, then definitely anyone willing enough can. The US offers incredible opportunities to everyone; one merely needs to know how to use them and to be willing to use them.

    That said, there is more to poverty than just the balance on your bank account. Poor families usually have a wide array of systematic issues in them affecting people's psychology and mentality, making them believe in themselves less, have a more pessimistic outlook on their future and ignore the opportunities they have, believing them too good to be true.

    In theory, there are many simple ways guaranteed to get you to the Middle-Upper class, as long as you are willing to work hard. For example, enter a college teaching a relevant profession, take the student loan, graduate, find a job and work on your career for a few years - you will get there.
    This "as long as" part, however, is what condemns so many people on the life of endless poverty and struggle. For example, living off welfare is easy enough, and even if such a life is not rewarding, it is in some ways more comfortable than jumping at the harshly competitive job market, with a lot of risks involved.

    It is also worth noting that a large percentage of people are, to be blunt, terrible at managing finances. So many times have I seen people driving new $80,000 cars and walking in torn clothes at the same time, since they cannot afford decent clothes due to the monthly rate on their car loan they have to pay... With this approach, where the individual cannot suppress their need for instant gratification and wants to have everything here and now, instead of investing their resources into the future - joining the Middle Class becomes nearly impossible.
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