A group of conservative members of Congress are currently advocating a form of Social Darwinism popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that basically promulgated the "survival of the fittest" in regard to human affairs. Poverty was justified as part of the natural order of things.
That's not so different from today's group known as the Tea Party, whose primary issue is tax breaks for the rich. It is in this climate that many workers have lost benefits, including health care, as well as a good portion of their wages.
Food stamps, a staple for many low-wage workers, have been cut. Unions have lost influence over the past decades. Meanwhile, homelessness and hunger do not create jobs nor do they create an atmosphere conducive to learning in school.
What is needed is a living wage that will provide enough to feed, clothe and house workers and their families as well as a single-payer health care system for all.