Gary Rivlin on How the Working Poor Became Big Business

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gary Rivlin describes how the flourishing poverty industry is taking advantage of deregulation to devise high-priced products to sell to the credit-hungry working poor, including the instant tax refund and the payday loan. 

In Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. How the Working Poor Became Big Business, he profiles players making money off the working poor and tells the stories of those fighting back against the enterprises that fleece the country's hardworking waitresses, warehouse workers, and mall clerks.

Event: Gary Rivlin will be reading and signing books
Wednesday, June 16, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble, Upper West Side
2289 Broadway, at 82nd Street


Gary Rivlin

Comments [6]

Leon Taub from Valley Stream

Gary, you noted in your interview that the market value of listed pawn shop stocks are up, and of check cashing service stocks are down, thus demonstrating your interest and familiarity with the stock market.

Although there has been some slight reaction in the press to computerized trading, I have yet to find an analysis that deals with how the big traders apparently skim the top of each day's transactions, no matter which way the market goes. Granted that stockholders are not generally poverty stricken, this is yet another example of funneling wealth into the hands of a small group whose actions undermine the health of our economy.

Gary, in light of your investigative reporting skills, a book on this topic would be an important and timely sequel to "Broke, USA".

Jun. 16 2010 01:49 PM
Peter Kelman from Brooklyn

Virtually every major bank is now aggressively getting account holders to "opt in" for so-called "Account Protector" services, which "protect" account holders from " the potential embarrassment of having a debit card purchase or ATM withdrawal denied due to insufficient funds." They don't make clear (except in the fine print) that this could cost the account holder up to $35/incident up to 10 or so incidents/day and 30 per month. In this way, the account holder may not even be aware they are over-drawing and end up with fees that may far exceed the amounts overdrawn. The rapid increase in use of debit cards by working poor makes them particularly vulnerable.

Jun. 16 2010 12:40 PM
Justine Poldino from Long island

Last week a friend brought his co-workers to Chase bank to cask their payroll checks. My friend tried to cash his too since although not an account holder the check came from a Chase account. The money given to him was $6 less the total check amount which was under $550. He was informed that Chase takes care of their customers and he was not one of them.

He took the check back, gave them the money and vowed never to willingly deal with Chase again.

Jun. 16 2010 12:29 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

I heard Al Sharpton has a large financial interest in payday loan company.

Jun. 16 2010 12:26 PM
Edward from NJ

Why isn't there price competition between the lenders driving rates down? Is there some sort of tacit collusion?

Jun. 16 2010 12:26 PM
The Truth from Becky

The problem is the interest on $100 not he $100 stupid they are if they would only charge reasonable rates, business would be booming

Jun. 16 2010 12:12 PM

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