Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. To many Americans, however, capitalism is seen as the system that defines the defines the America social classes. Capitalism today negatively affects the middle and lower class population of America with unrealistic standards of America opportunities and the criminalization of poverty. Some Americans have extremely large amounts of wealth. No one person should have billions of dollars in their possession as fellow Americans starve and work a hundred hours a week to live in their studio apartments.
One of the key selling points immigrants were given throughout American history was the concept of the “American Dream.” The American dream was a mindset that you could find success and prosperity as long as you work hard. This, of course, isn’t always the case for new Americans. This dream concept worked for earlier immigrants as the average wage of factory jobs in most of America was enough to supply a small family on. In America now, immigrants are left homeless or extremely poor as many high paying jobs now require a college education, something most immigrants cannot afford. College education is required for most high paying jobs, and minimum wage is extremely low as the cost of living in America skyrockets. Every new American no longer has the opportunity to be successful in our country just by putting in the work.
Low pay and poor working conditions are what keeps America going, and as the poor suffer the rich are able to stay on the top. Low wage workers continue to work insane amounts of hours to support themselves while men like Jeff Bezos sit around in their $23 million mansions and overwork their employees. Bezos did raise the wage of Amazon warehouse workers to $15/hour, which is considered a lot compared with other warehouse jobs and was praised by Bernie Sanders. However, this small wage increase is not enough, as these men and women continue to be put in stressful situations with very little time to relax or breathe. Bezos and Bill Gates are now the richest men in America, with net worths of $114 billion and $106 billion respectively. In this modern economy, poverty is also criminalized by not providing citizens with benefits they need to survive, resulting in them having to take action to acquire them. Many citizens must hop subway tills to make it to work and be able to eat dinner that night.Instead of creating a lower cost solution, New York City added more armed cops at tills. The government cares more about keeping these people in custody then helping them survive in the world.
One of the biggest problems in American capitalism is the concept of private healthcare. In America, citizens with steady incomes have to supply themselves and their family with private healthcare. Many options have been proposed for lower rate healthcare for disabled and lower class Americans but these systems can’t account for the large medical debts middle class citizens acquire. The max price for a single ambulance ride in America can be up to thousands of dollars and the average cost for one vial of insulin is $275. After giving birth mothers can also be charged $40 for just holding their child after birth. These high prices can be enough to make a middle or lower class American family go bankrupt. In the UK they have a National Health Service that provides free healthcare to permanent residents of the UK. A system like this would be beneficial to the US and its citizens.
Leia Pagan is a senior at Washington and has lived in Fremont their entire life. This is their second year at the paper and first year as News Editor. They joined to pursue their passion for reporting and they enjoy covering politics and LGBTQ+ topics. Their hobbies include drawing, listening to the kpop group Loona and watching drag performances. They plan to continue their education in English or Art at San Francisco State.