America is often referred to as the land of opportunity. Since Washington, D.C. was first designed, people of all nationalities and backgrounds have fled their homeland in search of a better life, the American dream as it’s called. The District of Columbia is indeed a fruitful place. One who is so fortunate can own a home, a business and retire quite wealthy, creating generational wealth to be passed on to their children and their children’s children. One can attain imported cars; diamonds in every color ranging from black, to yellow to white, in fact luxury should be our country’s last name. To be an American is to be fortunate. There is, however, a population who lives in the shadows of this luxury and opulence in our nations capital, a population who just barely makes it thru the week before the next paycheck, a population who is far less fortunate than the first group. This population is Washington, D.C.’s poor. It has been said that no one in America should complain of their living conditions because there are places in the world where some don’t have homes to shelter them from the elements. There are places where some have very little, or nothing at all to eat. While those are both tragic conditions, this isn’t a third world country, this is America. A place where most of us work a 40h work week and in many cases 60h – 70h work weeks, yet some are still unable to make ends meet. In saying this, I am not referencing those who are living well above their means, struggling to keep up with the Jones’, I am referring to those struggling to provide the basic essentials. The two income family of five who’s cumulative income is just below 28,000 and more than 60% of those dollars go to housing in efforts to provide a clean, safe place for their children to live and play. The single mother who makes $8.25 per hour and is forced to pay $1,450 for an apartment because it’s the cheapest place she can find that will allow her to walk to work because she can’t afford a car, in addition to rent and food and clothes for her kids. To reference the mayoral candidate from New York, rent in Washington, D.C. is too darn high. Yet it’s not just rent, it’s the cost of living in America. These families fall in what social service agencies call the “doughnut” range. This makes them too rich to qualify for social services which help the impoverished survive, yet too poor to meet their basic necessities comfortably. They generally have no savings, no insurance of any kind and struggle to give their families the basics, like routine dental care, annual medical check-ups, lights and, or clean, running water, not to mention comfortable clothes. In recent past, corporations have been blasted, to no avail, for taking in record profits while increasing price points, stating these increased price points were necessary for the survival of their company. While capitalism is a healthy, necessary process for the growth of America, corporate greed has overcome healthy business practices and placed the American public in a compromising position. Food and utility prices are skyrocketing 100% to 500% in some cases, while service and quality has decreased, and companies break profit records. Fuel for heating our homes and cars has become so expensive, many employees live in cold homes and make just enough money to go back and forth to work. It really doesn’t matter to the family who goes to bed hungry every night how much better off they are when compared to those in another country, especially when the heads of household work full time jobs and sometimes two full time jobs, their primary concern is surviving in their immediate environment. Never should a family debate between the importance of dad’s medication, new shoes for their growing teenage son, or lights for the entire family. Especially in a country where a single individual can gross incomes of tens of millions of dollars in a single calendar year and pay less taxes on said income than one who just barely pulled in $19,500. The American tax code is ridiculous, there should be either a flat tax and, or a luxury tax which would generate revenue for the federal government from those who can afford it most. Moreover, minimum wage is entirely too low when compared to the cost of living and the profits generated for corporations from the work employees provide. No one in America should be without health insurance, period. Housing is a right, not a privilege, especially to those who work daily and seek shelter. Moreover, why are there taxes on food? While these issues can’t be fixed overnight, it’s important to know these problems and this population exists and efforts need to be made to assist America’s low-class, the workhorses of our society, and the builders of our utopia. To be poor in America is a terrible existence, seeing those around you toss around two times your annual salary on such extravagancies as a 16thbirthday party, or the seasons “it” handbag. Unfortunately, our society is designed to keep an abundant low-class population to be exploited for the financial gain of that small group of uber-wealthy individuals in the top .08%. Most of us seek to be rich people at some point in our lives, but none of us should ever forget what is was, or is like to be poor people once we finally get there.