Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

"the option for the poor"

Interesting study very worth reading from the Brookings Institution covered in the New York Times ("Ghetto Tax" Being Paid by the Urban Poor) and San Francisco Chronicle yesterday.

Among other things, the study finds that:

"Drivers from low-income neighborhoods of New York, Hartford and Baltimore, insuring identical cars and with the same driving records as those from middle-class neighborhoods, paid $400 more on average for a year’s insurance.

The poor are also the main customers for appliances and furniture at “rent to own” stores, where payments are stretched out at very high interest rates; in Wisconsin, a $200 television can end up costing $700.

Those were just two examples among several cited in a report Tuesday showing that poor urban residents frequently pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year in extra costs for everyday necessities. The study said some of the disparities were due to real differences in the cost of doing business in poor areas, some to predatory financial practices and some to consumer ignorance."


"By taking out higher-interest mortgages, shopping at rent-to-own furniture stores, using check-cashing businesses instead of banks and buying groceries at convenience stores, the nation’s working poor households pay much more than moderate- and high-income households for life’s essentials…

The report — “From Poverty, Opportunity: Putting the Market to Work for Lower-Income Families” — calls on government officials to create laws to curb services that gouge low-income consumers, and it proposes reproducing fledgling programs the authors found across the country.

Reducing the costs of living for lower income families by just one percent would add up to over $6.5 billion in new spending power for these families. This would enable lower and modest-income families to save for, and invest in, incoming-growing assets, like homes and retirement savings, or to pay for critical expenses for their children, like education and health care."

I love that those cities mentioned in the articles are taking active, "root causes" steps to fundamentally change the system. Way to trailblaze.  If you're a regular reader here and/or of Bread for the World's Hunger Report - not having a safety net and having to pay exhorbitant relative costs for services we freely take for granted is also a root cause of people not being able to put enough (healthy) food on their table.

No other developed country in the world comes close to the percentage amount of hungry people within their borders as the amounts that we tolerate here in the U.S. We can, and must, do better. Learn more.


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