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The underclass is generally seen as the the lowest social stratum usually made up of disadvantaged minority groups.[1]

In 1988, Erol Ricketts and Isabel Sawhill proposed a conceptual definition of the underclass and then produced some of the first empirical estimates of the size of the underclass using available census data. A number of journalists, such as Ken Auletta and Leon Dash, who had written about the underclass emphasized that it was not just about low income, but also about destructive or anti-social behaviors. When Ricketts and Sawhill considered which behaviors to focus on they chose four. To have a shot at the American dream, they argued, you needed to stay in school at least through high school; you needed to not have a baby before you were married or prepared to support a child; you needed to work or actively seek work; and you needed to be law-abiding. This is what most Americans expect other Americans to do. If you are poor, despite doing all of these things, then you are not part of the underclass and have a reasonable chance of making it, especially if provided with an appropriate set of social supports. But if you fail to behave in accordance with this set of societal norms, you are less deserving of social assistance and could be considered part of the underclass.[2]

Some scholars also note that religious belief plays a large role in economic mobility, with strong Christian families leaving poverty at a rate far exceeding that of atheist families in similar socioeconomic strata. It is speculated that the strong emphasis on hard work, sacrifice and honesty in the New Testament plays a role in this difference. The fundamental reason, however, lies in the difference between the atheistic and Christian worldviews. Atheists view misfortune as the product of an uncaring, random universe, too vast for a puny human to ever affect. There is no incentive, therefore, for an atheist to attempt to change the hand that their purely deterministic universe has death them. If they are poor, it is because their atoms were in the wrong place at the wrong time during the Big Bang. Christian thought, on the other hand, emphasizes that all things, good and bad, come from God, and that hard work and sincere prayer can change the world in ways that science cannot measure or understand. A Christian is more likely to persevere in the face of even overwhelming odds because of the power of faith. This perseverance is the factor which allows believers to rise out of poverty and prosper where atheists merely wallow in it.

Conservative scholars note that the effect of big-government policies toward the poor has historically been to dampen the consequences of disregarding these common-sense regulations. Welfare expansion and the popularization of premarital sex, both goals of leftist political thought, have served to increase both the size and inertia of this underclass by removing the incentive to improve oneself and make responsible decisions. The ultimate effect of this trend is that a large portion of this generation have come to rely not on themselves, but on a political party and its bloated organs for sustenance.

The Democratic party has benefited from this voting bloc of dependent people by utilizing scare tactics and accusations of racism to muddle debate about the future of economic mobility in the country. It is known that the large majority of welfare-recipients are politically liberal, even those in areas where the majority of voters are conservatives. This is due to the liberal tactic known as "guilt baiting,"[3] in which voters are reminded subtly how much of their livelihoods depend on their monthly government checks, and warned that deviating from the party line may result in them losing their benefits. That growing beyond the need for benefits is a good thing never crosses the minds of many of the underclass, but the political activists maintaining this entitlement system are well aware of what effect widespread economic self-sufficiency among the poor would have on the size of the Democratic Party rolls. Another common tactic in the left-wing media is to use accusations of racism to shift debate on a topic from the issue at hand to whether the speaker is a "racist" or not. The 2012 GOP candidates have been very popular targets of this tactic, with Rick Perry,[4] Michelle Bachmann,[5] Rick Santorum[6] and Newt Gingrich[7] all targeted by lazy journalists eager to write a story that attracts page views and argument without the necessity of doing research or even talking to the candidate involved. Rick Perry, being from Texas and therefore a high-priority target for liberal journalists, has suffered the most damage to his campaign from liberal race-baiting. Instead of focusing on Perry's extremely impressive job creation record, something sorely needed today in the executive department, the media decided to focus on the name given to his parents' hunting cabin by its previous owners over two decades ago.

The presence of an underclass in a free, capitalistic society is caused by unnatural restriction on growth and innovation, resulting in an artificial shortage of opportunity for economic advancement. By fulfilling the short term needs of people on a long term basis, the Democratic Party has managed to raise a generation of people unable to contribute to the economy in a meaningful way. Ideally, removal of the system of crutches and restrictions propped up by the liberal political elite would result in the similar removal of the underclass from society.


  1. Merriam Webster
  2. [1]
  3. http://blacksnob.blogspot.com/2008/02/happy-super-tuesday-prepare-for-guilt.html
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/02/why-rick-perrys-racist-hunting-camp-sign-matters/
  5. http://sfist.com/2011/07/12/michele_bachmann_signs_racist_pledg.php
  6. http://politic365.com/2012/01/09/rick-santorums-racial-code-words-with-friends/
  7. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/06/1052213/-Is-Newt-Gingrich-racist-Discuss