Scenes from the class war


"Power is, as you might suspect, on the side of Power. Which is to say, Power never pleads guilty." "The statistical association between a representative’s personal wealth and their opposition to the estate tax remained even when factors such as age, party affiliation, their constituents’ opinions and anti-tax views were accounted for." "'I donate to charity mostly for the tax breaks and I'•m going to donate less now that the deal looks worse for me' is probably near the top of the … [Read more...]

16 Tons and bricks without straw: Christianity Today wants to bring back the company town

An armed guard patrols a mining company town in Alabama in the early 20th century, making sure no miners try to escape into the free economy to purchase contraception.

Christianity Today is required by law to provide every member of its staff access to booze and porn. Most of us don't think of it that way. We would just say that Christianity Today is required by law to pay its workers for the work that they do. The wages paid to their workers then belong to those workers, and since that money no longer belongs to Christianity Today, it has no say in how those wages are spent. The compensation has changed hands. It no longer belongs to the employer, but to … [Read more...]

Rolling Jubilee: Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the Land


Ezra Klein describes a scene from the documentary The Queen of Versailles: David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, the largest time-share company in the world, is hosting a party. The party is in his huge mansion. But it’s not in his hugest mansion — the 90,000 square foot, still under-construction “Versailles” — which is, at that moment, falling into foreclosure because Siegel can’t keep up on the payments. Siegel, slumped in a ratty armchair, is regaling some friends with a tale … [Read more...]

Mitt Romney once owned a credit-rating agency

For a small monthly fee, credit-rating agencies will allow you to inspect your report and attempt to correct the errors they've included in order to ensure that you'll want to pay that monthly fee.

Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica reports on Mitt Romney's history with Bain Capital: In 1996, an investment group including Bain Capital, the firm then run by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, sold the consumer credit information business Experian to a British retailer, making a $500 million profit. Eisinger goes on to detail the shadier aspects of that deal and the lawsuits that followed. Feel free to wade through that if you like. I just want to highlight what I think is even worse: … [Read more...]

One Step Up and Two Steps Back

One step up ... Mary Beth Quirk: "California Goes Gangbusters Against Abusive Lending, Passes Sweeping Foreclosure-Protection Law" Hey, rest of the country that isn't California! This is how you do it: California legislators went ahead and approved a sweeping bill on Monday that is basically a homeowner bill of rights, including ending abusive practices by mortgage lenders while at the same time helping homeowners evade the abyss of foreclosure. California ain't kidding around. While … [Read more...]

A Grace Period for people in need


Jesse James DeConto reports for The Christian Century on an alternative to the predatory credit of payday loans: As former Pittsburgh cop Tony Wiles knows, people who need money fast are vulnerable. “I grew up in the inner city, so I’ve seen it all,” he said. “Loan sharks, pawnshops and payday loan companies on every corner.” Wiles hadn’t considered doing anything about the issue until Rock Dillaman, his pastor at Allegheny Center Alliance Church, preached a sermon on justice. … [Read more...]

Same to you, buddy

Wal-mart is now advertising a new "low" rate for cashing checks of only $3. Any such rate seems like it's too much, since the check is your money, and paying $3 for your own money is a rip-off. But, as Wal-mart points out, $3 is a lot less than many of their competitors charge for this same dubious service. Those check-cashing competitors, Wal-mart says, can charge as much as $8 per check. Wal-mart's TV ad for this check-cashing service actually underestimates the savings … [Read more...]

Puffy shirt

Identity theft is, at best, an enormous hassle for the victim. At worst it can be devastating. Victims' "credit rating" can be destroyed, forcing them to pay the PPR (poor person's rate) for everything from credit cards to insurance. For the life of me, though, I can't imagine a circumstance in which being the victim of identity theft would force one to don a pirate costume and sing for tourists in a bad theme restaurant. That's not how it works. For those readers fortunate enough or wise enough … [Read more...]