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Neal Peirce: The High Cost Of Being Poor

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Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 10:11 PM
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Neal Peirce: The High Cost Of Being Poor
If you're like me, you'll be grousing about nightmare tax rules and the assault on your bank account as you seal up your income tax return and fire it off to the IRS this week.

But take heart. It could be a lot worse. You could be poor.

Poverty is not just miserable, it's actually expensive, the Annie E. Casey Foundation asserts in its "KidsCount" report. The foundation documents how every outlay -- from food to rent to loans to health coverage to check-cashing or a car for commuting -- is likely to cost you an arm and a leg more if you're a low-income American.

Some of the conditions can't be fixed quickly -- food prices up to double suburban rates in some inner cities that have been deserted by supermarkets, for example. Or rents so high that more than 5 million families are now obliged to spend over half their entire incomes for shelter.

But there's a depressingly long list of predatory fiscal devices that have ballooned in number since 1990. Collectively, they're ripping off low-income America, trapping millions of poor Americans in permanent, high-cost indebtedness.

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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 10:27 PM
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1. "Poverty is not just miserable, it's actually expensive"
is that the truth

anyone who has been down on their luck, and bank funds are so low that checks start bouncing ... it's bad enough that one's in the red, the bank socks it to the person with overdraft fees ... so, the red just gets more red ... being behind just makes the next month more challenging ... and, the one after that ...

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DieboldMustDie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 10:41 PM
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2. Nightline did a related piece last Thursday.
They mentioned, among other things, folks borrowing a few bucks to get them to their next paycheck paying annual interest rates in excess of 300%.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 11:51 PM
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3. "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich says the same
Can't afford the security deposit on an apartment? No problem, stay in a cheap motel that bills by the day. No kitchen or regrigerator so you have to eat out for every meal. Can't even keep juice and milk.

This was one of the many points she made.
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-04 06:33 PM
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4. I have been victim of just about every one of these practices one time or
another. I aways thought about the fact that it cost poor people more for things.

Maybe the underground market is growing.
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DavidFL Donating Member (236 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-04 02:53 AM
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5. Thank you for posting this.
One phenomenon mentioned in this article that needs to be discussed more is that of predatory lending because it has come of age and affects more than low income neighborhoods and indiviuals: these lenders are invading what's left of the middle class, too.

However, despite the fact that these lenders are gaming the mortgage and legal systems and are literally stealing homes from people, the FTC apparently doesn't take it seriously, or just can't be bothered, because it's too busy chasing after politically "safe" cases like spammers. It may also be that mortgage banking PACs are among the largest contributors to Congressional campaigns, too, so they slip by enforcement action that way. Can't rely on the OTS and OCC either, the agencies that are supposed to watch these kind of banks, because they're loaded with former banking insiders courtesy of the DLC and Bush; the foxes are guarding the henhouse.

The legal system is such a racket you can find lawyers to do these illegal foreclosures if you offer them enough money. What do they care if they took an oath to uphold the law, they got money to make. The state bar associations need to do something about this, too, because I know they've been made aware of it.

Anyway, someone in Washington better wake up soon because there are a lot of families that have been left without homes because of these practices and there certainly will be a lot more.
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