Sunday, April 22, 2012

A gated community for the poor

Wasn’t it just around 3 years ago when the US government doled out $700 billion of tax payers money to bail out the banks? Numerous exposés have since made quite clear that Obama & the gang rolled over for the banks by ignoring that financial fraud had been committed, that heads should roll & not be rewarded with bail outs, that time should be served at the penitentiary. To date, no bankers have paid consequences for their perjury & grand larceny. So imagine the shock of hearing that some of the very credit card banks that received bail out bucks (like Capital One & Discover) are now using the criminal justice system as a collection agency by getting people locked up & jailed for unpaid debts!? Although the US abolished debtors prisons in 1833, nearly a third of 50 states allow the sheriff to haul you in for arrears on credit card, auto, & other loans. According to an article in the Minneapolis paper, no statistics are kept from state to state on who is locked up or for how much debt but according to several sources, the number of arrest warrants for debtors is rising. Anyone with a credit card balance knows there’s no control over the interest rate because credit card companies operate like loan sharks with debt collectors as the new leg breakers. It’s such an alarming situation that even the moribund ACLU has been roused from torpor to issue alerts. (Whether they will defend debtors is another story.) We should not wait until the situation necessitates another Charles Dickens to catalog the crimes committed against the poor & indebted. Debtors prisons are not like Club Fed, the gated communities where the rich get manicured, waited on by valets, & golf while serving time; we’re talking Leavenworth, which is a gated community of a very different kind.

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