Of the topics that I could choose from, I chose to discuss how to reduce poverty in the United States. Poverty in the United States has been something that I have been personally hearing about since I was a child. It has always been a topic during every Presidential debate that I can remember. While growing up, I have always pondered ways of helping others that were less fortunate than myself. This had led me to believe whole-heartedly that the poverty rate can be reduced through several avenues.
The first way that poverty can be reduced is by increasing the minimum wage. The current minimum wage is $7.25. “In the late 1960s, a full-time worker earning the minimum wage could lift a family of three out of poverty” (Vallas, 2014). If the minimum wage back then was indexed to inflation it would be $10.86 per hour today (Vallas, 2014). If the United States would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, it would bring more than 4 million Americans out of poverty (Vallas, 2014).
Another major way I feel that the poverty rate in the United States can be decreased is by taxing wealthy a lot more than they are currently being taxed. As of 2010, the lowest 20% of Americans paid an 11.1% tax rate while the top 1% paid only 5.6% (Waldron, 2013). The lowest percentile is paying nearly twice as much in taxes compared to the top 1 percentile. If the taxation of the rich was at a higher percentile then the monies accumulated could go toward programs that could help lift the less fortunate above the poverty line. It may be my personal opinion, but I do feel that the 1% can “afford” the higher taxes due to them not being affected by it as much as the lower and middle class. Even Warren Buffet stated, “I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that” (Buffet, 2012).
If we choose to change these two particular aspects, not only will poverty decrease greatly, but our economy would continue to flourish. Unfortunately, the legislature has the final say so when it comes to taxation of the United States populace. I just hope that one day that everyone can have the same goal in mind and find a way to bring up our fellow Americans from poverty.
The critical thinking process I used in regards to formulating a resolution to lowering the poverty rate in the United States is quite similar to the process that we have been using throughout our studies in the classroom. The first step is to “State the Problem”, which is “How can we reduce the poverty rate in the United States”. The second step is to “State the alternatives”, which I described in my reflection above. The third step is to “Identify the Pros/Cons of each alternative.
I will admit that I did skip this step because I felt that the 4th step clarified everything. Step 4 is “What is the solution”. I truly believe that a raise in minimum wage and the increased taxation of the wealthy would greatly reduce the poverty level within the United States. Step 5 is “How well is the solution working”. This can’t be evaluated until Congress passes laws to substantiate my alternatives that I put forth.
As I stated in a previous assignment, critical thinking can be used in all areas of life. From making decisions regarding your children to that big decision at work, critical thinking can play a pivotal part in the success or failure of a person. Even though critical thinking is a great tool in making decisions, sometimes your “gut instinct” will overrule logic. It’s just human nature. We, as humans, are emotional at times and can make decisions based off of those emotions. This is the only feasible reason I could see the critical thinking process not working properly.
As far as steps that I can take to continue to use critical thinking in the future, I feel that always taking a step back and weighing all options in any situation would require me to think critically. For me to be successful, I must make wise decisions and that comes from using the critical thinking techniques I have learned throughout this course. With these critical thinking techniques “under my belt”, I have all the necessary tools to succeed and prosper in today’s society.
1. Buffet, W. (2012). A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html?_r=1& 2. Vallas, R. (2014). The Top 10 Solutions to Cut Poverty and Grow the Middle Class. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/news/2014/09/17/97287/the-top-10-solutions-to-cut-poverty-and-grow-the-middle-class/ 3. Waldron, T. (2013). ‘Fundamentally Unfair’: How States Tax The Richest 1 Percent At Half The Rate Of The Poor. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/01/30/1514461/states-tax-rich-half-poor/