Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"You have to be rich to be poor..." Wash Post article

The Washington Post ran a great article on May 18, 2009 called "Poor? Pay up" shedding light on an unjust paradox. The poorer a person is, the more things cost. This whole thing just makes me ill.

A lot of is has to do with the food and convenience issues (milk at a Safeway...$2.29 for 2 gallons. milk at a corner store where you're forced to shop if you have no car? $4.99), but there is even more that really burns me up. The poorest people in our economy don't have decent access to financial services. Those who provide services to this sector are often little more than predators piling service fees onto people who can't afford it. The image of a villainous landlord twirling a mustache comes to mind, but it's much more systemized than any individual baddie. Here is an excerpt, but click here for the full article.

Hopefully, Bread for the World's Offering of Letters campaign next year may take on this very issue!!!

"The rich have direct deposit for their paychecks. The poor have check-cashing and payday loan joints, which cost time and money. Payday advance companies say they are providing an essential service to people who most need them. Their critics say they are preying on people who are the most "economically vulnerable."

"As you've seen with the financial services industry, if people can cut a profit, they do it," Blumenauer says. "The poor pay more for financial services. A lot of people who are 'unbanked' pay $3 for a money order to pay their electric bill. They pay a 2 percent check-cashing fee because they don't have bank services. The reasons? Part of it is lack of education. But part of it is because people target them. There is evidence that credit-card mills have recently started trolling for the poor. They are targeting the recently bankrupt."

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