|16 Jun 2004 @ 15:02, by ming|
From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: One of the surprising things about poverty, to those who've never experienced it, is how damn expensive it is. One of the advantages of being fairly prosperous and credit-worthy is that corporations compete to be able to sell you things, driving down prices and driving up quality, while the poor make do with whatever they can find.
Neal Pierce does a fine job of laying out this dilemma in The High Cost Of Being Poor: Fighting The Land Sharks:
"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."
Pierce then goes on to talk about subprime mortgage-lenders, check-cashing outlets, payday loan shops and other businesses that prey on the poor. One solution he discusses is Centers for Working Families, a foundation-led effort to create one-stop shopping for services for the poor