Saturday, March 31, 2007

The "time tax" on poor people

Many poor and black communities are so bereft of services and retail that residents are forced to pay what could be called a "time tax" -- either extra money or loss of personal time -- to access basic services.

In some communities, residents must take a cab to get to the bank, rely on costly check-cashing agencies and take two buses to get to the supermarket, said Dr. Kathryn Neckerman, a Columbia University sociologist.

On average, she said, low-income families earn $15,000 a year and large chunks of it are gobbled up by, for example, spending up to $2,000 a year on the check-cashing service.

"Time is money," said Dr. Neckerman, and all the time and costs put pressure on families. "We need to think about the time tax."

Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report here.


At 12:42 AM, Blogger Vox Populi said...

you truly ARE amazing. I have thought this so many times, how it sucks for some people and they accept it as part of life. Very very troubling. Stepping on the poor and disenfranchised to make a buck. Ugly. I'm grateful to you for hi-liting this criminal practice. If it's NOT criminal it SHOULD be, huh?

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Marissa said...

It is extremely troubling. I am glad you posted this.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger John C said...

I avoided the 'check cashing' places by using a debit account, and paying a monthly fee to avoid $1.00 and $2.00 charges at point of sales like registers.

This is a good subject for peer to peer mentoring for anyone working with unsheltered and those 'stabilizing' out of the system.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Blair said...

Thanks for pointing out that article. I had no idea check-cashing could be that expensive. I wonder if people find other alternatives when there's not a bank around.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Ms. Dowd two words come to light whenever I read your blog: "Blog Godess." Thank you for this timely article. It will be the center piece of my post regarding the recent Mayoral election here in Jacksovnille this past month.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

Welcome back, Michael!

I used to have a link to Truman's Conscience, but I took it down when your blog was inactive. I'll put it back!

At 4:03 AM, Blogger Anonymous Law Student said...

Those check cashing services need to be regulated much more than they currently are. They are robbing the poor.

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