"The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More" Washington Post

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Maysie Maysie's picture
"The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More" Washington Post


Maysie Maysie's picture


The poorer you are, the more things cost. More in money, time, hassle, exhaustion, menace. This is a fact of life that reality television and magazines don't often explain.

So we'll explain it here. Consider this a primer on the economics of poverty.

"The poor pay more for a gallon of milk; they pay more on a capital basis for inferior housing," says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "The poor and 100 million who are struggling for the middle class actually end up paying more for transportation, for housing, for health care, for mortgages. They get steered to subprime lending. . . . The poor pay more for things middle-class America takes for granted."

Poverty 101: We'll start with the basics.

Like food: You don't have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or Trader Joe's, where the middle class goes to save money. You don't have three hours to take the bus. So you buy groceries at the corner store, where a gallon of milk costs an extra dollar.


The rich have direct deposit for their paychecks. The poor have check-cashing and payday loan joints, which cost time and money. Payday advance companies say they are providing an essential service to people who most need them. Their critics say they are preying on people who are the most "economically vulnerable."

"As you've seen with the financial services industry, if people can cut a profit, they do it," Blumenauer says. "The poor pay more for financial services. A lot of people who are 'unbanked' pay $3 for a money order to pay their electric bill. They pay a 2 percent check-cashing fee because they don't have bank services. The reasons? Part of it is lack of education. But part of it is because people target them. There is evidence that credit-card mills have recently started trolling for the poor. They are targeting the recently bankrupt."

Full article here.

Sven Sven's picture

Yep. I think that's pretty accurate. 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

And that's why I ENVY YOU Sven. (tee-hee)

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sven, you always seem to post that poverty in North America is so infitesimal to poverty in the World where they live on $2/day. How do you propose they get to the Costco?

You act like you give a shit but don't propose much to overcome our shortcomings?

You disparage countries like Greece, trying to stand up to the capilopoly.

Thanks for keeping us honest.

I've realized how important you are to our discussion.

Folks, we're reaching more people than ever. I'm slightly optimistic.


Fascinating article, Maysie.  I've emailed a link to my New Jersey cousins and my Georgia nephews, all of whom believe what one of them recently wrote to me:

Georgia Nephew wrote:

If I don't do my job and add something of value I'm gone and I'm totally ok with that. I find it insulting that we pay people to do nothing and now that 51% of folks in the US are getting a check from the govt on a regular basis it's doubtful they want to start working for it. I feel the same way about unions. They no longer serve the workers, but rather are a means for political parties to maintain power, influence and keep money pouring in. Just look at the GM bailout.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping folks out, but I feel it should be done on a smaller community scale and be tied to something. I feel we have earned the right to dis-trust the govt when it comes to social programs, because I don't see them working. Most of these programs seem to be more focused on maintaining a consistent voting base instead of creating a better life and/or opportunity. We have to stop giving folks a hand out and give them a hand up. The best social program I know of is a job. It creates personal value, wealth and esteem that cannot be found in hand outs.

Obviously there is a large group of folks that wants the govt to take care of them and my answer is plenty of places to move that will suit that wish. I'm not gonna hate the rich guy, I don't know him. I'm going to keep working my ass off so maybe I can create a better life for my kids.

My Yankee relatives are angry as hell and mired in confusion.  BUT they are all going to vote and (surprise) not for Obama!

Maybe other folks here have Yankee relatives, too.  Send them a link!