Thursday, May 17, 2007

More discussion on how the poor are victimized everytime they make a bad deal

I just had to comment on this story from Business Week before heading to bed: The Poverty Business. It's the same sorts of stories I've been blogging about, with some clearly illegal/fraudulant activity thrown in for good measure- but let's be clear here, the real complaint is about the victims - the "unsophisticated" consumers who don't read contracts, don't understand terms like "interest." Now maybe in some cases this is true, but plenty of poor people are not stupid and are perfectly capable of understanding the basic terms of a contract. The idea that we need a law that restricts what everyone can do in order to protect the least responsible among us is down right offensive - unless of course you really like the idea of the government running your life for you.

The theme in all these sorts of stories is that the poor are over-extending themselves financially in order meet some sort of slickly marketed higher standard of living. What I'm really wondering is where all the liberals have gone. The only reaction I've heard to these sorts of stories is how we need to stop these big, evil companies from taking advatedge of the poor. I haven't heard anything about helping the poor out with their financial obligations and allowing them to maintain the standard of living they've strove to acheive. It's just odd that we've reached the point where bashing business is more important than the actual living conditions of the poor.

And just one final note, this about the sob story that ends the Business Week article. The numbers don't make any sense - these reporters are either lazy, sloppy, or stupid. This woman, Connie McBride, makes $47,000 a year and we're supposed to feel sorry for her- she has $450 per month garnished from her take home pay, supposedly leaving her with $1338 per month in take home pay. But added up, that works out to $1788 a month or $21,456 per year. I have trouble beleiving she's paying more than double that in taxes. I'm not trying to say that this women has it easy, but add in her $385 per month car payment and her $590 per month rent and we're talking $1425 per month (or $17,100) for these three expenses - factoring in taxes in the range of 20% (-$9,400) still leaves $20,500 (or around $1700 per month) for living expenses and other bills. Again, maybe not ideal for this women's situation, but she's probably doing better than 99% of the people in the world today.


Blogger Jim Fryar said...

Queensland, Australia.

It may be of interest to check town planning rules as over here there are mininum sizes and standards that tend to be over the top, and make housing beyond the means of many people.

Many of the older homes were clearly designed to be extended later as means allowed, or family size required. This is no longer the case.

Livable sheds allowed people to buy a place and live rough for a few years, while not having to pay rent allowed them to save for a house more easily.

Most local authorities now forbid this, 'in the interests of the community".

4:56 AM  

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