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Level of Income and its Impacts on the Society

Many times, people in the society are required to meet certain obligations. These obligations vary from one individual to another as influenced by certain factors. Common factors influencing expenditure habits include the level of income, place of living, priorities, and tastes and preferences. People have to spend within their limits. However, this may be inadequate due to the minimum wage. As a result of the low pay and high cost of living, human beings may be compelled to seek for other means of survival. The government through various agencies may come in handy in helping such people.

Part 1: Cost Sheet

NB: All values are in US dollars ($).

Living expenses

Application fee – 40.00

Deposit -1700.00

Rent- 1700.00

Utilities

  • Electricity- 7.00
  • Water- 7.00
  • Gas- 10.00
  • Trash – 24.54
  • Phone (cell and/or landline)
  • Cable – 59.99
  • Internet – 20.00

Transportation

Car payment – 515.00

Gas ($__2.7 per gallon______ x _30______ per month) – 117.00

Insurance – 118.00

Maintenance – 100.00

Bus pass – 80.00

Gas money for transportation – 117.00

Uber – 123.00

Unexpected costs (i.e., parking tickets, etc.) – 50.00

Food

Groceries ($__13.00______ x ___30____ per month) – 390.00

Dining out – 290.00

Fast food – 100.00

Other food expenses (i.e., Starbucks, boba, etc.) – 40.00

Clothing

Laundry supplies – 15.00

Laundry costs ($___4.0______ per load x ___6________ loads per month) = 24.00

Dry cleaning – 20.00

Purchasing new clothes/items – 120.00

School

Tuition costs ($__600______ x __9_____ per month if paying monthly) 600.00 per month

School fees – 1108.00 per month

Books – 300.00

Parking permit – 410.0

Supplies – 25.00

Miscellaneous costs – 50.00

Health

Medical insurance – 321.00

Dental insurance – 12.00

Prescription costs – 44.00

Vitamins/supplements – 65.00

Gym memberships – 70.00

Personal hygiene expenses

  • Hair – 35.00
  • Nails – 15.00
  • make-up – 40.00
  • grooming – 40.00

Entertainment

Monthly subscriptions/passes- 30.00

App purchases-25.00

Significant other

Hobbies- 50.00

Gifts- 50.00

Financial

Savings – 500.00

Bank fees – 120.00

Credit card payments – 200.00

Charitable/religious donations – 500.00

Miscellaneous expenses

Grand total: $9412.53

Part 2: Help Programs, Their Limitations and Qualifications

A number of programs are available for people with low or minimum wages which cannot sustain their day to day needs. These measures may vary from one region to another. However, they have a similar objective of helping people out of complicated situations. In U.S.A., the most popular program is the Education Improvement Tax Program Credit (EITC) program. The program offers scholarships to brighter but needy students, thus, lowering the burden on their shoulders as far as academic progress and their financial needs are concerned. The program is beneficial to the state, businesses, and poor students. By providing different educational opportunities to students, business organizations earn tax credits (Pennsylvania Resource Council, 2018). The students are, therefore, financed to proceed with their education and this plays an important role towards reducing their financial responsibilities.

EITC

While business organizations make contributions to the educational standards in the society, they are also in a better position to benefit. The concerned organizations stand to enjoy a 75% tax credits which is limited to a maximum of $750,000 in any taxable year (The Challenge Program, 2018). The fact that a business enjoys a tax credit implies that many organizations would be motivated to make donations to these programs and this would significantly increase the number of people likely to benefit from them. It is important to note that the tax credit may increase up to 90% if the concerned business organizations agree to offer the financial support for two or more years consecutively (Pennynslavia Resource Council, 2018). The amount donated by business ventures to the educational improvement programs is allocated to students after certain considerations have been made.

Qualifications for EITC Support

A person is qualified to benefit from EITC if the value of their gross income falls within a pre-determined range. This factor, therefore, implies that one of the basic requirements for one to be a beneficiary is that they should be working. The type of work may either be formal or informal. Informal jobs include being self employed by running businesses or any other income generating activity. The residence of the applicants also plays a significant role in determining their eligibility. As it has already been mentioned herein, the program may vary from one region to another, that is, different states may be sponsored differently. Educational history also plays a crucial role in determining the beneficiaries. The applicants must also be eligible to be pursue the academic program that is supposed to be paid for.

Limitations of EITC

There is uncertainty in the amount of money that can be donated by business organizations. The EITC relies on money that is contributed voluntarily by businesses. This simply indicates that no one can coerce business organizations to make such contributions. The success and amount of funds available at any given time is, therefore, a function of the wish of the businesses and not the needy citizens. As a result, the amount collected may fluctuate from time to time. The resultant fluctuation may, therefore, deny some applicants an opportunity to benefit. Moreover, the funding of the academic program may also be interrupted due to insufficient funds when businesses opt out of the deal.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The supplemental security income is one of the common initiatives with an objective of addressing the challenges that a section of the population faces. Funded by the general tax revenue, the program supplements the income of the poor and disabled. A special group of people targeted by this program are enabled to meet their basic needs by being provided with cash. These basic needs are shelter, food, and clothing. In contrast with other similar programs, SSI allows people who have worked for a considerably extended period of time to also apply for it.

Qualification for SSI

Certain requirements must be met before one is granted the help. The most important consideration requires the applicants to be between the age of 18 to 65 (Social Security Administration, 2018). The requirement prevents the minors and old members of the society to benefit from it as they may be under other organizations or individuals. Moreover, the applicants should also not be linked to any marriage, that is, they should have never married before. Other conditions to be fulfilled include the applicant being a U.S.A. citizen and a permanent resident in any one of the 50 states, should not have benefited from the program before the application, and must also apply for the social security disability insurance at the same time (Social Security Administration, 2018). All these requirements are meant to ensure that the program benefits the intended group fairly without being used to benefit non-deserving people.

Limitations for SSI

The program faces a number of limitations. The fact that it requires unmarried people may imply that a good number of the needy people may be locked out. Similarly, the rigid requirements also discourage children and people more than 65 years from applying. The condition may not go well with a majority of the needy people who may belong to that bracket. As a result, the concerned individuals may view the program as being discriminative.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The TANF is also a program that is aimed at helping the less privileged members in the society to meet their financial obligations. The program specifically offers financial aid to pregnant women and families which have more than one dependent child (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). The assistance offered is intended to enable the concerned families to access shelter, food, and medical expenses among other human needs. Transitional services and screening are also offered under this program.

Qualifications for TANF

For one to be a beneficiary of TANF, several factors have to be put into consideration. One of the basic requirements is that the applicant must have a child aged less than 19 years old or be expectant (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). Pregnant women living with their husbands can receive a special consideration with or without children. The applicants must also be living in Illinois. However, the homeless may also be considered.  Just like many other programs, TANF requires that all the beneficiaries be U.S.A. citizens or fulfill a number of selected immigration requirements (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). This implies than non-residents cannot benefit from the program regardless of their financial status. The applicants must also provide a plan, indicating how they intend to be self-sufficient thereafter.

Limitations Facing TANF

The program is mainly aimed at benefiting pregnant women or families with children of certain age. This acts as a barrier to other needy women who may also require the services. The fact that certain immigration requirements have to be fulfilled may also impact the immigration department adversely as illegal immigrants may decide to forge them.

Part 3: Sociological Concepts

Human beings are regarded as social creatures. From time immemorial, people have associated with others in various ways. Issues facing the society can be broadly categorized into what is termed as sociological concepts. They are any condition that can be used to represent a section of the world’s population and their beliefs in the most simplified manner. Common classification of the society is based on the income distribution, power and culture. Sociological concepts include culture, social class, and socialization which shape and define human beings.

Culture

Culture can be broadly defined as the values of a society, that is, ideas, behaviors and beliefs that one society holds. Culture can be considered to be part and parcel of sociology as it shapes human interaction. Apart from obtaining spiritual knowledge, members of a religious group are also likely to undergo teachings on how they should dress, appropriate manners, and speech (Henslin, 2014). Appropriate manners may include the need to treat the low income earners with love and care by offering moral and financial care. The religious teaching may also play a very important role in determining how members of the society are likely to contribute to helping the poor.

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Proper religious teachings instill a sense of belonging and brotherhood in the society. Eventually, a culture of helping the less fortunate members of the society may be developed and this may significantly increase the amount collected for educational improvement programs and other plans with a similar objective. According to the Jewish culture, helping the needy and poor is an obligation (Walzer, 2011). Such cultural beliefs may help the society in enhancing better life for the less fortunate. Culture may also shape the behavior of business leaders and policy makers by making them to be compassionate and considerate to the less fortunate individuals. The culture may, therefore, motivate the leaders to ensure that the organizations pay their workers well in order to increase their financial status to meet their needs. Moreover, good culture may stimulate business managers and influential people in the society to increase the minimum wage for the employees and also offer them incentives to reduce their financial burden.

Socialization

Socialization is at the core of human interaction. Regardless of age, social class, gender or any other classification, human beings frequently need to socialize with one another in a conducive manner. Socialization not only affects human interaction but also contributes significantly to shaping how humans display their emotions (Henslin, 2014). Commonly expressed emotions include anger, joy or excitement among others. A social group of people may also develop emotional symbols that are very specific to them. For instance, the way people act whenever they interact with members of high social class may contradict the manner in which they interact with members from a low social class (Henslin, 2014). Accordingly, the way the workers may socialize with the capitalist differs from the way they may socialize among themselves. Similarly, a person who is facing financial challenges may also socialize with members of their class in a different way as compared to how they socialize with those that are financially well.

Socialization is shaped by social aspects such as the level of income. People belonging to the same social group based on their income distribution are likely to be free to socialize with their colleagues. In contrast, these people may not socialize well with those above them financially. Health, behavior, and education are some of the common attributes in the society. However, these features are linked to socialization and also play a crucial role in shaping the future of people. Children facing poor health, behavioral, and cognitive development are at a very high risk of obtaining very little education and as a result, they may eventually earn very low salary as they turn into adults (Berger et.al, 2009). The argument implies that poverty may be transferred from one generation to another if it is not properly dealt with at the right time. If the situation is given room to persist, socialization may be affected adversely. Arguably, the connection between education and socialization may be viewed as the root cause of the idea behind the development of EITC in the U.S.A.

Social Class

The society can be defined on the basis of the living standards of people and this classification leads to the development of what is referred to as social class. According to Karl Marx, the society is made up of two social classes which are always in conflict with each other (Henslin, 2014). His classification divided human beings into capitalist and the workers (Henslin, 2014). While the capitalists own factors of production, that is, land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship, the workers do not possess any important factor of production (Henslin, 2014). This condition dictates that for any production process to take place, the workers must operate in accordance with the wishes of the capitalists. However, as Marx states, after a certain period of time, the workers may feel the pressure of suppression from the capitalists and join hands to counter it accordingly (Henslin, 2014). One class usually differs with the other on a variety of issues. Indeed, what one class may consider being morally, culturally and ethically right may turn out to be discouraged by the other social class. The conflict, therefore, implies that for harmony to be established, these two classes must be given a keen consideration. The classification done by Karl Marx is still evidenced in today’s society.

In the modern day, society can still be classified based on Karl Marx’s point of view. In this case, the employers act as the capitalists while the employees are the suppressed workers. A poor pay may result in several challenges such as inability to meet ones daily financial needs. For instance, the cost sheet that has been discussed herein clearly indicates that at the prevailing wage bill, one may not meet their financial obligations. This may result in a social conflict between the rich and the poor and it has to be solved to facilitate peaceful co-existence.

Part 4: .Reactions to the Cost Sheet and Supplements

People have to work harder to earn in order to meet their financial obligations. The minimum wage bill is often used by employers to determine the amount of salary to be paid to workers. However, the workers may be in a difficult situation trying to be financially responsible with a very low monthly salary and wages. In normal working situation of 40 hours per week and the prevailing minimum wage, I will definitely be unable to meet my financial needs. Working for extra hours would enable me to overcome the wage problem which has experienced variations for a longer period of time (Machin, 2008). The income is too low for one’s needs and this calls for other income generating alternatives to be considered.

Financial needs can be partly addressed by applying for programs such as the EITC, TANF and SSI. Through such kinds of programs, I may be given a scholarship and this would reduce the burden of paying school fees and tuition fees. Alternatively, one may also apply for any program with an aim of enabling people with little income in the community to meet their needs. Since fees would be catered for, I would be in a better position to depend on the income appropriately.

Working overtime may also be an alternative for supplementing my level of income. Since I would be required to work for a period of 8 hours a day, I may decide to work for longer period to earn more. For instance, I may use my knowledge and talent to work and earn more money. The extra income would significantly supplement what I earn from my formal employer. The quest to work extra time may compel me to talk to the human resource manager at my place of work to extend my working duration for more money. Working on weekends, holidays and for a longer period will make me earn overtime allowances, thus improving my financial status.

Business investments may also be an alternative to supplement the earned income. Considering that my normal income is not adequate, I may be compelled to apply for bank loans or look for funds from other sources to start a business. The potential sources may include friends, family members, well-wishers, and my savings. The business should be based on a highly profitable and easy to manage activity to ensure that it is sustainable and blends well with my work schedule. The profits realized from the business may be used to supplement the income earned, and therefore, enabling me to meet all of my financial obligations.

References

  • Berger, L. M., Paxson, C., & Waldfogel, J. (2009). Income and child development. Children and Youth Services Review31(9), 978-989.
  • Henslin, J. M. (2014). A Down-to-Earth Approach.14th Edition
  • Illinois Department of Human Services. (2018). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30358
  • Machin, S. (2008). An appraisal of economic research on changes in wage inequality. Labor22, 7-26.
  • Pennsylvania Resource Council. (2018). Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program. Retrieved from http://prc.org/educational-improvement-tax-credit/
  • Social Security Administration. (2018). Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/
  • The Challenge Program. (2018). Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC). Retrieved from http://www.tcpinc.org/eitc/
  • Walzer, M. (2011). On Humanitarianism: is helping others charity, or duty, or both? Foreign Affairs, 69-80.


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