Professor Daniel Hatcher was quoted in a March 28 CBS Money Watch segment, “The high cost of being poor.”
America’s poor face a range of costs that affluent citizens usually don’t incur, such as high bank fees for low account balances. About 20 percent of bank customers pay 80 percent of the industry’s fees, with low-income workers almost twice as likely to incur overdraft fees as wealthier Americans, according to a 2008 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., CBS reported.
Likewise, poor Americans who can’t afford to pay a traffic ticket upfront are charged onerous fees to pay off the fine in installments.
These are just two examples of how the poor serve as a source of profits for corporations and governments; there are many more.
“It’s really a non-ending set of barriers, and each barrier is connecting, so it creates a quagmire that make it feels like it’s impossible to break out,” Hatcher said of the cycle in which poor people are trapped.
Hatcher’s new book, The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens, is to be published by NYU Press in May.