Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Poverty, Inc.

We’re all familiar with payday lenders, pawn shops and other bottom feeders who prey on poor people. But you have no idea how deep and how lucrative the poverty industry really is. Preying on poor people, keeping them poor, making them poorer — there’s gold in them thar desperate people.

I haven’t read Broke, USA by Gary Rivlin. I just saw a review of it in last Sunday’s paper. I hope it’s a huge seller. This information needs to get out there.

(Here are some more links.)

The full title is “Broke, USA: From Pawn Shops to Poverty, Inc. — How The Working Poor Became Big Business.”

In 2008, Americans spent $11 billion on payday loans and check-cashing fees. The author of this article says:

“To the upper and middle classes, they're all but invisible, but to the working poor, they're a fact of life: pawnshops, payday lenders, storefronts offering high-rate mortgages, tax preparers promising instant cash refunds…the poverty industry was allowed to rage out of control with the backing of Wall Street and the inaction of Washington and state governments.”

Now I’m all in favor of personal responsibility and self-reliance; and I’m well aware that we all play a role in our own financial well-being. But you can’t just shrug off a multi-billion dollar predator industry with “it’s their own fault,” “he should have known what he was doing.”

The last I heard, fraud and theft were still illegal. If this libertarian “self-reliance” mantra gets carried past a certain point, we might as well legalize assault and robbery and tell everybody to take a self-defense class. If someone tries to mug you, either you kick his ass or he gets your wallet.

In the book review I read last Sunday, the author was interviewing one of the high-ranking mucky-mucks of the poverty industry, who said something like “I’m making an average of $10,000 an hour; but I think I can do even better.”

Ah, so many crazy-desperate poor people who will try anything, fall for anything; so little time.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for this one for a long time.

The Payday Lenders and such managed to join (or hook up)the same organizations with the Main stream Banks, and were therefore able to piggybank with their lobbyist.

So the mainstream banks, afraid that a little regulation of the payday loaners extreme rates would trickle down to regulation on them have circled the wagons and actually brought these scum into their field of protection.

Besides you know they are also looking to see if they could get into that business too.

Congress tried to regulate the payday loaners but the best they could do was pass a law banning them from within a certain distance from Military bases so our Solders can now go the extra miles and still get screwed.

And I thought it was just politics that made strange bedfellows


July 8, 2010 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

It's a hell of a racket. People who don't want to fall off the log will grasp at anything to try to stay on it, and these vultures are right there to fleece them out of existence.

The entire economic system, with the "credit score" at its center, if flat-out designed to keep the poor in poverty. The rich don't face things like piggybacked overdraft charges, or skyrocketing interest rates because they had an unpaid hospital bill.

July 8, 2010 at 11:49 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Financial reform, if it passes, should provide some curbs on the leeches making things worse for the poor and near poor. Of course, that's assuming the provisions I read about awhile back didn't get compromised put, thrown away or lost in the shuffle.

July 9, 2010 at 12:48 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

If they didn't want to be so poor, they should find a higher paying job. Sheesh.

July 9, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Oh and ask if any protections were included with the new consumer protection financial reform bills going through both houses. NOPE, they are content to have consumers mainly poor that pay off minimum payments be saddled with extortionate interest rates. Oh man, the things I could and want to say about these vultures in the payday loan business, does not really belong in polite society.

July 9, 2010 at 8:14 AM  
Anonymous kate said...

Legalized "Loan Sharks"

July 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Good summary of how big banks and bottom feeders are working together and helping each other.

JR: That sure describes a lot of people's dire situations, "people who will grasp at anything so they won't fall off the log." And I had no idea the vulture industry was so lucrative.

SW: I'm guessing that whatever financial reform we finally get will be so watered down, it'll be Tweedledee instead of Tweedledum.

Randal: But they're all on drugs; they don't want to work.

Jess: You're right, I wouldn't want you to use any obscene words in a polite family blog such as this one :)

Kate: Loan sharks -- that's exactly what they are.

July 9, 2010 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Suzan said...

I love it.

How many times I have thought this while reading the financial pages . . . .


If someone tries to mug you, either you kick his ass or he gets your wallet.

And the payoffs from these shysters to the Congressional "representatives" (of whom we've got to start asking) ensure that none of these good intentions will survive the "consensus" committee determining the final "reform" bill.


July 9, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Having been poor I can attest to shoddy practices. I also have done business with the Mob. I liked the Mob better. They certainly were cheaper. Another group that's screwing the poor is those Rent a center's. The washer breaks and you don't have money or credit you go to these creeps. You wind up paying four times what the thing cost. Oh by the way I've been rich too..Rich is better.;)

July 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Eric, do you have a site? Your comments show you to be insightful.

July 9, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Suzan: I too don't have much hope for the financial "reform" bill. The banking industry -- the bottom feeders and the "big" banks -- has all the clout, and they like things just as they are.

Tim: I believe you about the Mob. Having never dealt with them, I assume they'd at least be up front with you about what you have to do, and what they'll do to you if you don't pay up. I can't picture something like "Hey, Vinnie says you missed something in the fine print. You owe us another $3,000."

July 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Tom, I make up swear words when it comes to these payday people and it really gets my blood pressure going sky high. I have to get on a plane later and don't want my head exploding before I get some vacation time in.

@Tim, at least the Mob tells you they are going to do bad things if you don't pay them what they ask. The fine print from these vultures and bottom feeders, gets people into much more trouble. Having never experienced what it is like to have no money, I have seen these things pop up in areas right in my own backyard, across the bridge from where I live. They prey on lower income people and it makes my blood boil.

I did go into one of those rental places once and asked the manager, how could she in good conscience rent something that costs 400, I think it was a dryer I was talking about and charging what would amount to having had 6 of them. I am not kidding, with a straight face, this woman told me, it is what they will pay because they don't know any better, I'm paraphrasing because it was a while ago. Most of them are idiots, where if they did some math they would know we were ripping them off, same woman. Yeah way to go, rip off your consumers, that should keep you in business right?

If this were my world and I could rid it of two businesses, oil and predatory lenders would be the two I would choose, till I made new rules to get rid of more of them.

July 9, 2010 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

The mob are small time compared to the banksters in the financial cartel.

"We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.” FDR – 1936

July 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm flattered, but no I don't have a site


July 9, 2010 at 11:46 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home