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The cost of not having sufficient money July 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’ve noted before just how lack of immediate access to disposable funds can make life even more difficult for people on low and even medium incomes. There’s a range of areas where simply having disposable income to pay out ahead of time is cost effective – some subscriptions, certain payments, and so on and so forth.

But surely the grim arrest and death of Sandra Bland points up how in the US, and presumably other polities, it can have a devastating impact. Without discussing the specific incident it seems to me that there’s a sort of policing equivalent of constructive dismissal where the ultimate end goal is the arrest of an individual by upping the ante at any given moment.

Just on Bland she seemed remarkably calm, albeit understandably irritated, for quite some time during the incident.

But in terms of costs, financial and otherwise, this in Slate is sobering.

If Bland had been able to pay her bail on the spot [$500 − 10 per cent of the overall bond of $5,000], she would have been released immediately following her arraignment, which took place on Saturday, July 11, the day after she was pulled over on a traffic violation and detained for allegedly assaulting a police officer. A representative for the Waller County Sheriff’s Office told me they could have processed Bland’s bail at any time

And look how bail functions in a particularly pernicious way for some:

In practice, the bail system is particularly hard on poor people, who frequently get stuck behind bars because they can’t afford to post bond, while those with greater means pay their bail and go home. According to one study, five out of six people in jail are there because they could not afford to pay their bail.


1. CL - July 31, 2015

In NYC-“City Council leaders want to create a $1.4 million, first-of-its-kind city-financed bail fund to spare indigent defendants charged with low-level crimes from unfair and costly stretches of confinement at Rikers Island before their day in court”

A Bronx man who spent three years as a teen in Rikers Island enduring beatings by guards and inmates and long stints in solitary confinement without ever being convicted has committed suicide.



2. Dan Turpin - July 31, 2015

Being poor means you always get screwed. Here, if you can’t pay your car tax in one go you pay a hefty premium, one that is way in excess of the cost of processing the payment. Screwed because you’re poor.

If you can’t pay your electricity bill you can choose to ‘Pay as You Go’ which has a hefty premium. Screwed because you’re poor.

That’s just two examples off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more, especially in relation to access to justice here.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - July 31, 2015

An obvious example is the cost of renting in the private sector versus buying; particularly in big cities, the cost of renting a property will almost always exceed the cost of servicing a mortgage on the same property, since, in many cases, that’s what your landlord will be doing with your rent, plus a premium. This is exacerbated if you’re low paid, since a) you’ll never get a loan anyway, and b) even the very floor of the rental market is going to be above your ceiling.

Something I read recently suggested that, in the UK, renters paid an average of somewhere in the mid 40s% of their income on housing, even including social transfers, whereas owner-occupiers with mortgages were averaging 28%. That 40+% figure rose to a staggering 72% in London.


3. EWI - July 31, 2015

It’s expensive being poor.

I believe Crooked Timber has had a couple of good posts on this over the years. Krugman and Duncan Black (‘Atrios’) too.

Liked by 1 person

4. gendjinn - August 3, 2015

John Oliver’s did a bit on this recently.


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