DailyDirt: Getting Ahead Is Getting Harder

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

More and more stories about economic inequality appear to be written more frequently. There are all sorts of statistics about the 1% versus the other 99% and how much wealth the top 1% controls compared to the rest of the population. The numbers vary all over the world. Russia apparently has 110 individuals who control 35% of the country's wealth, while worldwide, the top 1% controls 39% of the world's wealth. If you're not feeling rich now, check out a few of these links if you have the spare time. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 5:33pm

    Balderdash!

    It costs money to save money, so it's not so easy to bootstrap your way out of poverty. Getting sick, having a car break down, getting a parking ticket... are all unlucky events that could ruin your life if you have no savings and a low-paying job.

    In the good old US of A, the only poor people are lazy people! If you aren't successful, then it's because you're not trying hard enough, or lack the work ethics to hold an honest job! All it takes to get ahead in life is hard work, 'luck' has nothing to do with it!

    (I've asked before, but seem to have forgotten the suggestion, any suggestions on what 'I mean it as a Poe, but others have meant it in complete sincerity' be called?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 6:07pm

      Re: Balderdash!

      Stop Punishing Success!!! - Sarah "Waterboarding is How We Baptize People" Palin
      I've asked before, but seem to have forgotten the suggestion, any suggestions on what 'I mean it as a Poe, but others have meant it in complete sincerity' be called?
      Unsure, but Misaimed Fandom would be a good description of the people who take quotes like the above seriously.
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MisaimedFandom

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 5:51am

      Re: Balderdash!

      My only suggestion is '/poe' or '', similarly to the '/sarcasm' pseudo-tag that sometimes gets used. I'd certainly interpret that as having the meaning you describe, but I don't know whether other people would interpret it the same way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 7:18pm

    It's interesting that Putin would get blamed for Russia's extreme income inequality. A decade ago he "nationalized" the assets of the country's wealthiest oligarchs as he threw them in prison. That move made Putin very popular with the Russian people, but very unpopular with the United States (and presumably Israel).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McCrea (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 9:00pm

    Keeping People Down is Easier.

    Is there a name for this following phenomenon?

    Poor people are hurt more and more often and wealthy people by reconnection fees.

    It only logical: Poor people are more likely to have service terminated due to failure to pay. A fixed dollar fee will be a greater percent of a poor person's wealth than that of a wealthier person.

    In my real life I was flabbergasted when I was charged $100 to reconnect my water, which I paid 45 minutes after it was shut off. Apparently I lost the notice.

    $100 is too much to turn a handle (in town).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 12 Dec 2014 @ 12:35am

      Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

      A year or so ago, I forgot to pay my property tax bill on time. The bill was due on Jan. 1st and I had until Jan. 31st to pay it without incurring a penalty. I ended up paying it on Feb. 3rd, so I figured that I would be charged a late fee for the three days past the 31st.

      Imagine my surprise when they charged me for TWO months worth of late fees!

      The logic works like this: Even one day into a month is treated as an entire month, and since it was due on Jan. 1st, I got charged for both January and February!

      So if I pay it on Jan. 31st, I don't pay a single cent in late fees, but if I pay it on Feb. 1st, I get charged two months worth of late fees.

      I know I made a mistake and I was perfectly prepared to pay a reasonable late fee, but rigging the system so people are charged an absolute minimum of two months for a single day is just legalized robbery.

      The woman wasn't too amused when I asked if I could work for three days out of the month and then get paid for the entire month.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 2:05am

        Re: Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

        It was due Jan. 1st. If Feb. 1st, or 3rd for that matter, is one day, I want to come to your New Years Eve Party!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rekrul, 12 Dec 2014 @ 6:01am

          Re: Re: Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

          It was due Jan. 1st. If Feb. 1st, or 3rd for that matter, is one day, I want to come to your New Years Eve Party!

          You're missing the point. Why is it that I can pay it on Jan. 31st and not get charged a late fee, but if I pay it on Feb. 1st, I get charged two months of late fees?

          In what world does it make sense that the absolute minimum late fee a person can be charged is two months? There is no condition under which a person will only incur a single month of late fees.

          Not to mention the ripoff of charging for an entire month based on only three days.

          Imagine if you needed to stay at a hotel for a couple days and they charged you for the entire month.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Christopher (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 6:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

            How fucking lazy do *you* have to be to not bother paying a tax bill for 34 days? You didn't ripped off, you got instructed. I'll bet you pay on time now.

            -C

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Michael, 12 Dec 2014 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

            Here's the problem, you seem to have taken a 31 day grace period that they were nice enough to give you and turn it into them being a**holes.

            It was due January 1st - they were going to be nice enough and NOT CHARGE YOU the late fee if you got around to paying it less than 1 month late. Since you didn't do that, they charged you the appropriate fees.

            I would suggest that you ask them to stop giving you a grace period. Then you will be less confused.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Keeping People Down is Easier.

            I am not missing the point.
            Do you understand what "due" means?

            Why a full month? Plenty of reasons. They want their money; Deterrent; Opportunity costs...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 12 Dec 2014 @ 12:44am

    I read an article a while back which said that the corporate strategy of paying workers the absolute minimum is starting to backfire on them. Since they pay their workers so little, those same people have no extra money to spend in their stores. They're saving money in worker pay, but losing profits.

    What we have now, isn't really a functioning economy, it's more like a wealth vacuum cleaner that sucks the money out of the lowest levels and distributes it all to the rich. Eventually the money runs out and there's nothing more to vacuum up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      McCrea (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 2:51am

      Re:

      Right, I understand that a employer/customer to business relationship is a net loss at both ends due to you-name-it-tax. Even before vacuum taxes are considered, employees can never be paid more than the business earns and a business can never earn more than a customer can pay. It's lose-lose.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 4:52am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, this is is similar to hollywood accounting. After a few get super rich, there are no profits to be used in paying those who agreed to stupid renumeration schemes and therefore they get nothing because the movie made nothing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Christopher (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      In a rush to elevate capitalism as an awesome tool against communism, we seemed to have lost the counterbalance to the unchecked greed that is a natural exponent of capitalism.

      That counterbalance is, ironically, labor unions and other progressive tools like anti-trust regulations and banking laws that, ha ha, the 1% beneficiaries managed to gut.

      -C

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:00am

    Getting sick in the US

    Getting sick, having a car break down, getting a parking ticket... are all unlucky events that could ruin your life if you have no savings and a low-paying job.


    Getting sick in the US can easily ruin you even if you have savings, insurance, and a well-paying job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 9:09am

    Banks

    Okay, I'll start the rants about banks and how they seem to prey on people don't have much money to begin with.

    It goes something like this:
    You have $200 in your bank account, you deposit a check for $400, and write two checks: one for $300 and one for $200.
    By your accounting, you should have $600 total before writing the checks, then $500 in checks, for an ending balance of $100.

    However, your bank cashes the checks first, before honoring your deposits:
    Your first check for $300 is cashed and your balance is now -$100.
    Then they charge you a $35 under-balance fee.
    Then they cash your second check for $200 and your balance is now -$335. (They cash your check for your "convenience" rather than bouncing the check.)
    Then they charge you another $35 under-balance fee.
    Then they charge you a $35 fee for not having more than $100 in your account.
    Your balance is now -$405 and they honor your deposit of $400.
    And your balance is now -$5.

    All because you didn't make enough money to keep your checking account above a "safe" threshold.
    And then people wonder why poor people use check-cashing services and payday loans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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