There are about 46 million Americans living below the poverty line — 15 percent of the entire (U.S.) population. …But here’s a stat that may provide some perspective on pvoerty: according to the Department of Health and Human Services, about nine percent of Americans have some kind of substance dependence. Most of those people cannot earn a living.
So let’s do the math: 15 percent poor; nine percent addicted. Maybe poverty is not exclusively an economic problem.
Fox “News” shithead BILL O’REILLY, making a spurious — at best — statistical leap during an October 12, 2011 broadcast in which he also makes Tavis Smiley’s and Dr. Cornel West’s heads spin.
So much for the no-spin zone.
Fox News: “Let’s see, what can we put together to make up some bullshit connection that will make people think even less of poor people?”
Every time I have written about bank malfeasance in connection with spurious fees charged to the most vulnerable customers, I get a mutton-brained response like this one:
Or you could, you know, track and manage your expenses. What a novel concept…
Let’s have some real talk. If you can successfully track and manage your expenses, congratulations. I am very proud of you. We’ll go get cupcakes some time. Your financial literacy will serve you well in life. That (and a bank account that doesn’t scrape bottom every month) should let you avoid overdraft fees.
It should not, however, entitle you to have the cost of your bank services subsidized by the poor, the elderly, the least educated, and the mentally disabled. There is absolutely no reason that we should have a finance system that preys on the most vulnerable. And the sole reason we do have a finance system that preys on the most vulnerable is the too-common attitude that the most vulnerable somehow deserve their own exploitation.
You said nothing to indict the bank of any guilt in this matter. I guess we’ll have to let those terrible, greedy, “Wall Street Fat Cats” off the hook.
As mentioned in my previous post, I’m not able to discuss the merits of a specific case mentioned in one line of a news article. I just don’t have the information. But I can offer a few things that we routinely see lenders do when servicing distressed loans.
- Lose documents then refuse to permit borrowers relief under the federal program on the grounds that the borrowers “failed to submit requested documents”.
- Deny loan modifications on the grounds that borrowers “failed to submit requested documents” that the borrowers requested.
- Pay kick-backs to mortgage brokers for duping their clients into accepting higher-than-market interest rates on mortgages.
- Lose payments sent by borrowers when a loan is sold and institute foreclosure proceedings
- Inflate the amount due in notices to borrowers, leading borrowers who could have reinstated their loans to give up on making payments
- Send aggressive letters threatening foreclosure if borrowers don’t pay huge amounts of money … after the bank has entered a trial modification that permits the borrowers to make lower payments.
- File documents with court swearing to the truth of statements that the person who signed the documents never actually read.
- Erroneously refuse to accept payments on borrowers whose mortgages are current, begin foreclosure proceedings, and refuse to dismiss the foreclosure proceedings unless the borrowers pay thousands of dollars of attorney fees.
- Loan money to elderly borrowers who have no chance of paying that they knew would be used to pay the prior loans in order to rack up fees and strip teh borrowers of home equity.
- Provide loans to borrowers on fixed where with principle, interest, tax, and insurance exceed the borrower’s total monthly income.
- Provide loan disclosures with one set of terms and show up at closing with a different set of cloans.
- Promise borrowers that assistance is available … if only they fall three months behind, then refuse to review the borrowers for the promised assistance and foreclose on their homes.
- Lie to borrowers with account inquiries.
- Assess “legal fees” to struggling borrowers for things that were never actually filed.
- Promiss illusory help to borrowers who are struggling but current, trash their credit (thereby preventing them from refinancing with another bank) deny the help, and demand thousands of dollars of fees to permit the borrowers to simply resume making payments on their loans.
- Assess fees to borrowers accounts that are really just the banks costs of doing business
- Assess fees to borrowers accounts for assigning a mortgage (i.e. for paying a county recorder when one bank sells a loan to another bank—which the borrower has no control over)
The list goes on. All of these are common.
I would like to point out that the author of this comment is 17. So I’m sure she’s paid quite a bit in taxes, no? Whatever she’s paid, she wants them back.
As for me, I would love for my tax dollars to pay for those who can’t afford health care or dental care. I prefer that versus paying for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq. I would love to pay for higher education for my fellow citizens in this country instead of paying for further weapons development and deployment by private contractors.
You point to the military as a specific example as a government program that’s somehow A-ok. Did you know that your tax dollars completely subsidize the medical and dental care of military members, their families and veterans? The best access to medical care I have ever had was when I was in the military.
Being healthy is a privilege? Well, here’s where you’re getting closer to correct, though not for the reasons you think. There’s many, many people who work hard, yet can’t afford treatment of any kind because they don’t make enough money. There’s a direct correlation between health, quality of live, and income level. The more cash money you have, the more likely you are to be healthy and able to have access to medical and dental care. So only the privileged are assured of being healthy.
Thomas Jefferson compared individual heath to a society’s liberty, writing, “Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.” Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed in you, I imagine.
However, Karl Marx would not be shocked by your callousness. Marx wrote, “Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.” It’s probably folks with similar beliefs to yours that inspired Marx.
You’re only 17. You have time to for your bubble to burst. And it’s fairly likely it will.
If you currently have access to safe water and [mostly] safe food, are able to drive from point A to point B on decent highways and freeways, have avoided dying (or just getting lost) while driving thanks to stop lights and street signs, go to a public school, plan to attend a state university, have banks that you can trust to put your money in without the bank closing and your money going with it, have ever used any sort of public transportation, fly on airplanes without dying in a plane crash due to a known and completely avoidable mechanical issue, don’t have to worry about Grandma living with you in her old age because her income is supplemented by social security, have avoided dying from plague and preventable communicable diseases thanks to public clinics and mandatory vaccines…hey, guess what! You’ve benefited from government services! And no amount of hard work, determination, and mad money-making skillz on your part could have magically made those services available to you!
I just get tired of these arguments from people who have no idea what the government does for them or all the ways they benefit. Because they are so accustomed to the comfort, safety, and freedom the government provides them (and no, I’m not talking about from the military), they completely take it for granted that these things are available to them. They think these things exist in a vacuum, or that if the government disappeared, these services would magically be available to them via the free market…even though there are plenty of examples of countries without a strong government presence where the free market has failed to provide these services—especially not in any way that is even close to being universal or serving anyone beyond a very, very small, ultra-wealthy elite—and virtually no examples where the free market has. (If you know an example, I welcome you to share them.)
I would love to say this is just the ignorance of a 17-year-old girl, but unfortunately, it isn’t. I’ve heard people twice or thrice her age make similar comments—people who are old enough to know better, but who live a sheltered enough existence, they’ve never had to consider seriously what a world without these government services would look like, or even what sort of biases on their end are inherent to make such claims possible. It is, almost exclusively, a bunch of people who have lived their entire lives in these sheltered, upper middle class, white bread communities where they don’t know anyone who actually struggles from paycheck to paycheck, and therefore assumes the problem of the underclass is laziness, even though most of the people who struggle (there’s a reason they’re called the working class) work far harder than anyone in the upper middle class, what with their cushy, air conditioned offices and 8-hour workdays. They think they shouldn’t have to give back to their communities at all, unless maybe they go to church, and then, they should only give back to the “deserving” communities, which as best as I can tell, generally means people who go to their church, arts programs they enjoy and children with cancer. It’s a bunch of judgmental assholes sitting on their pile of money and privilege, thinking they are so far above it all, because they “work hard,” even though the fact of the matter is, they have never worked half as hard as most poor people work just to stay afloat. Of course, they don’t know that, because they don’t know anyone who isn’t like them. They assume that because they started out in families with money, with parents who went to college, with the expectation that they would go to college and someday make money too, with the safety net of their parents’ money to fall back on if they ever get into any sort of trouble, that this somehow makes them the virtuous class. It’s a fucking joke to anyone who’s ever lived in any other community.
^commentary for the win