Thursday, July 20, 2006

On the affordability of poverty

Super Blair weighs in on Barbara Ehrenreich's "Could You Afford to be Poor?"

Thanks for the article. Here's a few more things to consider.

I support pay-day cash advance banking alternatives. The choice is not between cashing a check free at a bank or paying a fee at a check cashing business. Many banks (in Cleveland, Ohio, for example) charge a fee to cash a check unless you have an account, even if the check is drawn on the bank where you attempt to cash it. The choice is between paying a fee to cash the check or not cashing the check.

Pay-day places don't give you the attitude that banks do. Check cashing centers are popping up everywhere because of market demand.

The choice is not between a high interest pay-day loan or a low-interest loan at a bank. The choice is between a high interest loan or no loan at all. That's why I didn't like VP candidate John Edwards' speech 2 years ago calling for shutting down check cashing centers while not calling for any banking reform.

Banks are not a safe place to keep your money. If you have any debt or unpaid medical bills or back taxes, your bank funds will be seized. So if you have a $10,000 medical bill and $500 in the bank to pay this month's rent, guess what? You just became homeless.

And don't get me started on impoverishment programs that masquerade as poverty assistance programs. I have been documenting the programs here in Charlottesville, Va. for 6 years now, and identifying the directors and officials making a tidy living perpetuating poverty while boasting about helping people.

Remember: poverty does not cause crime. Crime causes poverty. Rich people steal way more than poor people.

Just visit my blog for a systematic undressing the poverty pimps and their propaganda. My latest report is an update on a former urban renewal official who, last year, outlined his bold new "community land trust" idea for maintaining permanent disadvantage for low-income people.

Oh and did I mention: I'm still poor.

Check out Barbara's blog.


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