Should Government Focus on Solving Immediate Problems or Future Problems as Primary Focus – Term Paper Example

The paper “Should Government Focus on Solving Immediate Problems or Future Problems as Primary Focus?" is a forceful example of a term paper on social science. There is currently a rather heated debate among members of society as to whether the government should continue to focus primarily on current social issues, such as poverty and substance abuse, rather than putting forth tremendous effort to fix future issues including global warming and trends toward human obesity. Few could argue against the fact that poverty and drug use are common problems which plague American society, thus they require governmental intervention and various policies to combat these crises. However, despite the fact that rising instances of obesity and increasing global temperatures do not affect the majority of today’s population, these issues cannot be completely ignored by governmental leadership. Regardless of the specific stand which members of society hold regarding existing or future issues, it is clear that the immediate needs of society should be addressed prior to implementing strategies to combat future problems.

In current society, approximately 60 million people (or one-fifth of the entire U.S. population) live in poverty (Henslin, 2003). Classifying who lives in poverty is characterized by the poverty line, which is illustrated by the income level of individuals or families, which is currently set at only $21,400 (DHS, 2007). Poverty represents all individuals or households which earn less than that figure. In a society where abundance can be witnessed in terms of the availability of bountiful food supplies as well as the technological and resource capabilities to provide adequate shelter and meals for the hungry, such massive levels of poverty are unacceptable.

Forcing individuals to live in poverty is due to the division of income in America, where those who are given opportunities for higher education and career positions experience considerable wealth, while those who are less fortunate are forced to struggle daily simply to make ends meet. Poverty tends to create subcultures in which aggressions run high and individuals, through circumstance, often feel compelled to turn to criminal behavior to provide themselves (or their families) with much-needed food or material possessions to make life easier (Henslin). Thus, the government must recognize this division and create adequate legislation which can provide families in poverty with the same abundance that wealthier classes experience, even at the sake of sacrificing corporate profitability expectations. Lack of career-generated income should not dictate whether human beings should be allowed to live in desperation for lack of a quality shelter or meal. Poverty often breeds substance abuse as individuals struggle with the daily stresses and frustrations of living without, hence these two social problems can be easily connected to one another (in some fashion). When individuals must turn to chemical stimulation to escape from the reality of inferior living, based on lack of income, it is up to the government which was established by the people, for the people, to ensure that all members of a bountiful nation are provided adequate lifestyle

In opposite accord, future problems are receiving a great deal of government intervention in recent years, such as the global warming phenomenon. Scientists are practically unanimous in accepting the fact that human industry and the combustion engine are greatly adding to artificial carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) which are causing radical increases in global temperatures (Easterbrook, 2006). Though the immediate effects of these gases are not posing serious, imminent threats, continuous Congressional activities are underway (which require financial expenditure) to ensure that the issue is addressed and preventative measures are undertaken to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the question must be asked as to why such high levels of government finances are being directed toward a future problem when existing problems of poverty and substance abuse run rampant in contemporary society. These funds would be better allocated to assisting those in need today. Obesity, too, appears to be getting similar governmental interventions, as efforts to address regulating fast food industries and food manufacturers are always being discussed in the media. However, from a rather logical and practical perspective, obesity is a self-caused issue, meaning that it could easily be prevented by the individual who forgoes exercise and nutrition in favor of the greasy potato chip bag. Hence, should the government be widely concerned about health issues stemming from rather easily-preventable human dietary habits? It would be a considerable waste of taxpayer funds to create costly legislation and governmental literature to combat projections of rising American obesity.

The government must remain focused on handling current social crises over that of future problems, at least in terms of how much specific energy and resources are placed to combat these problems. Poverty is a major issue in today’s America and it must be corrected so as to sustain a more productive society. Tomorrow’s problems should be dealt with as they arise rather than sacrificing the well-being of individuals in existing society. Failure to do this will only allow current crises to flow into the future, making them tomorrow’s issues as well, which will overwhelm governmental resources well into the 21st Century.