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The Crime of Poverty

Updated: 1 day ago

The late Leona Helmsley oft remarked that only the little people pay taxes.  Well, Donald Trump originally ran on the fact that he also felt this to be an unnecessary burden on him. Frankly, for the uber wealthy, they can only count on death for now because most have found a way to sidestep paying taxes. Financial crimes often go unpunished, or companies do not have to admit to any wrongdoing and pay a relatively small penalty.  Not monies that would put them out of business.  

Too many cities fill their budgets by penalizing the poorest and most vulnerable citizens.  It is called the broken windows model of policing. People are fined for small infractions like sidewalk repair, while living in neighborhoods with minimal municipal resources and disproportionate crime rates. Too often they can't afford to take off work to fight the citation or are intimidated by the legal proceedings.

In addition to vast wealth inequality, there is very little protecting most of us from corrupt corporations. (Laws are also enacted to punish people for being poor, but that is a topic for another day.  Please listen to the two DSOT chats with volunteers from the Poor People's Campaign.  And support this movement.)

These chats will serve as perfect primer for our upcoming third chat with the PPC next week. We’ll be discussing their upcoming Assembly on June 29th. We encourage all who can to come to DC and/or financially support this action. If you aren't thinking about colonizing Mars and demanding billions from the federal government- then, well...

Back to corporate crime. Too much is ignored or not prevented enough, including wage theft. And a lot of financial chicanery is legal. So let's raise a glass and toast the Supreme Court for saving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  In mid- May 2024, in a 7-2 decision, the court found that its funding was constitutional.  Wait for it- Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the opinion for the majority.  (Only Justices Alito - yes of course - and Gorsuch dissented.)

The case challenging the funding mechanism of the CFPB was brought by the folks from the legal Payday Loan industry. The people whose usury makes even the Mafia blush. Senator Elizabeth Warren created the blueprint for this agency.  She wanted to run the CFPB but then President Obama refused to appoint her. No worries, she ran for the United States Senate and won.  

To date, the CFPB has returned more than 20 billion dollars to people who were cheated financially.  Imagine how much corporate fraud actually exists that is not legally and legislatively sanctioned. The CFPB survived the previous presidential administration with a director, Mick Mulvaney, whose mission was to cripple it.  Or shrink the agency to be able to drown it in a bathtub.  Yes, that is conservative pipedream aimed at all government but an agency helping consumers from corporate fraud especially has a target on its back.

So finally, a positive decision from this court, but one good choice won’t change that: People still want term limits for SC justices.  

It is hard when wealth, no matter how it is obtained, is lionized and celebrated while most people are regarded as fungible and undeserving. As well as easy marks. Be conscious consumers.  Try to do business with companies/stores and services that you know and trust.  Shop locally 6 days a week.

And then... 

Don't Shop on Tuesday.

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