War on the Poor

Kamala Harris proposes to make it easier for credit card companies to collapse your credit rating by taking into account late payments on utilities, cell phone services and rent. Currently, these late payments aren’t taken into account when credit card ratings are calculated. Those of you who have experienced poverty know what this change would mean.

She is also proposing to fund a repetition of the 2008-9 financial crisis by helping people make downpayments on houses they can’t afford. Because real estate never depreciates and 2008-9 never happened.

But she bleated something teary about racism, so she must be wonderful.

36 thoughts on “War on the Poor”

  1. Harris’s grant program, which would be administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), would provide up to $25,000 or 20 percent of the loan value to people of color who’ve lived in historically redlined neighborhoods for at least 10 years. Families would need to buy a house for less than $300,000, make less than $100,000 annually, with some consideration given to those in high-cost metro areas. Individuals could not make more than $50,000.

    The Harris campaign says four million people would benefit from the $100 billion grant program. While that program would address historic discrimination in housing, Harris is also proposing changes to how credit scores are calculated, which would make it easier for African American borrowers to qualify for a mortgage.

    Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending has gotten incredibly strict. Harris’s proposal would add rent payments, phone bills, and utilities to the formula for credit scores because the current criteria—mortgage payments, student loans, credit cards, and auto loans—aren’t as common among African Americans, leaving many without a scoreable credit profile. Including rent payments and phone bills in credit score calculations would allow more people of color to build stronger credit, and thus have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.


    Glad to know you more about being an African-American than does an actual African-American.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s exactly what I said because that’s the source I used. It’s a war on the poor and a set-up to erase the protections installed in the wake of the 2008 mortgage lending crisis.


      1. By the way, the absence of student loans, mortgage payments and car loans has nothing to do with having a credit score and securing a mortgage. My husband and I had none of these when we got our mortgage but that didn’t prevent us from getting the mortgage or having great credit ratings.


      2. That makes perfect sense, an African-American politician would encourage policies that would hurt African-American families trying to buy a home. And you know how credit reporting works? More data would make the scores more accurate.


        1. For the millionth time, she’s a rich lady. That’s her primary identity. She does things that benefit rich people.

          You are like those folks who believed Trump would benefit the white working classes because he’s white. It’s beyond clueless.

          And yeah, using the information on late utility payments would make credit scores more accurate. While punishing the folks who have had a rough patch, experienced unemployment at some point, etc. I was one of those people, so I speak from experience.


          1. Funny how you don’t attack the meat of my argument. You think more information in a credit record would make it less accurate? You don’t know that part of the subprime mortgage crisis was selling them to African-American home buyers even when they qualified for a conventional mortgage?


            You’ve really internalized the Leninist concept that the rich are only at war with the poor. How sad you still can’t see your own programming coming to the fore.


            1. I have no idea how after 8 years of Obama people still cling to the belief that DNA influences politicians more than their social class.

              You are totally like those working class whites who think Trump is on their side.


              1. That’s funny because most American Marxists disdain bringing race into the picture.

                And you need to familiarize yourself with the concept of “moral hazard”. Just because something worked against you doesn’t mean it was unfair. If the lending institution doesn’t have accurate information on the borrower when they decide to give a loan, then they are undertaking a greater, unknown risk on behalf of the shareholders in the bank.


              2. I already know that you are one of the “corporations are people” and “the interests of shareholders matter above all else.’ But I’m not one of your group. I’m a scholar who works in the neo-Marxist tradition of criticism. So obviously I don’t have interest in these mantras.


              3. In economics, moral hazard occurs when someone increases their exposure to risk when insured, especially when a person takes more risks because someone else bears the cost of those risks. A moral hazard may occur where the actions of one party may change to the detriment of another after a financial transaction has taken place.

                A party makes a decision about how much risk to take, while another party bears the costs if things go badly, and the party isolated from risk behaves differently from how it would if it were fully exposed to the risk.


                Your understanding of capitalism is about 60 years out of date.


              4. Quoting Wikipedia will not help you conceal how much your thinking resembles that of Trump supporters.

                It’s ok, I don’t judge.


            2. You mistake here is you think Clarissa is arguing that this change would make credit records “less accurate.” Her argument is that including this information would be harmful to poor people, which it would. She and I don’t care that much whether the bank can maximize its profits with more accurate info. And it was never Harris’ argument for this either; she’s claiming this will help poor black people when it will do the opposite.


              1. Excluding it would be harmful to poor people who were never unemployed. The whole point is using things like student loans which aren’t taken out a lot by poor people discriminates as well.


              2. Let me guess. You never lived in poverty. Demotrash and I have and we know what a disaster this would be.

                This is an issue where anybody who’s been poor in the last 15 years immediately understands what I’m talking about. And people who haven’t, just don’t get it.


              3. My father did during the Great Depression. His father hitchhiked from Texas to California back then and
                Sent for his family
                When he got work.

                As Bernard Shaw noted, poverty is a


              4. And my grandparents survived the Holodomor and the Holocaust. And Stalinism. I have no idea how it’s relevant but since we are sharing.


              5. The point is my parents appointed me with their own poverty related stories when I was growing up I learned enough about it by the age of 12 to know that I would never be in it and have kept that resolution ever cents.


              6. I have to share that it’s extremely hard for me not to feel contempt for individuals who believe that being poor is a matter of personal choice.


              7. UNDERSHAFT [cold and sardonic] Have you ever been in love with Poverty, like St Francis? Have you ever been in love with Dirt, like St Simeon? Have you ever been in love with disease and suffering, like our nurses and philanthropists? Such passions are not virtues, but the most unnatural of all the vices. This love of the common people may please an earl’s granddaughter and a university professor; but I have been a common man and a poor man; and it has no romance for me. Leave it to the poor to pretend that poverty is a blessing: leave it to the coward to make a religion of his cowardice by preaching humility: we know better than that. We three must stand together above the common people: how else can we help their children to climb up beside us? Barbara must belong to us, not to the Salvation Army.



              8. I’m sure it must feel very gratifying to despise the idiots who live in poverty because they forgot to make a resolution not to.

                Shame on you, man.


              9. There are people, many people, who have to decide whether to pay the electric bill or the water bill each month. I’m saying this shouldn’t be held against them 5 years after they get out of that situation.

                I’m speaking from personal experience because I was that person. But now I got out of that situation and I don’t want it to be held against me forever.

                This is why I keep saying that social class is crucial. People simply don’t get it if they never experienced it.

                Liked by 1 person

              10. This isn’t for the poor, it’s for the lower middle class. Including cell phone bills in credit ratings would not boost ratings of poor but would for the type of lower middle class person they are looking for. I and various colleagues got our houses under this type of program (not same, but similar concept). I couldn’t have qualified because of having too much debt / too low a salary, but under HUD program qualified because of having steady job and steady record of paying bills. Therefore got house financed at 100% instead of having to have a down payment, which I didn’t.

                The thing about this particular plan is: the houses sure had better cost less than $300K. $300K is a slight stretch if you are only making $100K, and individuals in this program can’t be making above $50K. Program can be advantageous IF rental market is high in area, such that buying is more advantageous, AND house does not need expensive maintenance / renovation, AND cost of house isn’t more than 2.5x annual salary of household.

                As I say, I got a house this way and I could cite both advantages and disadvantages of having done it. It’s good for the city and the banks that I did, because I’ve maintained it and improved it, sometimes taking out more loans to do so. It’s good for me in that it is a more pleasant space than any apartment in this town is, and because the rental market for houses is so expensive, one might as well own. It has disadvantages as well; overall the key with houses, cars, everything is NOT to buy the most expensive thing they will lend you money for.

                Anyway, back to my point: this isn’t a program for the poor, it’s for the lower middle class.


              11. Was that before the crisis? Because since the crisis, banks refuse to have any conversation about mortgage without a down payment even with the perfect credit score.


              12. No student loans or mortgage, sure, that’s typical of the lower middle class as well as the poor. But no credit card and no auto loans? That doesn’t sound like lower middle class to me, that sounds either like someone young or someone poor. And that’s that’s who this new system of calculating credit is supposed to be giving a credit history to.


              13. Yes, the idea is to create a credit history when there is none, I understand. Clarissa’s point is that this won’t help if payments haven’t been steady — it will only work for people who have made steady payments. So if you’re super-precarious you STILL won’t get a good credit rating.


              14. Of course, I don’t support saddling people with mortgages that they have no chance of repaying. We all saw what happens when that’s done. I don’t want people who had a bad situation in the past to have it hanging over them forever.

                For people who are currently in a bad situation I favor a clampdown on predatory lending and predatory banking practices. Maybe something like a government alternative to payday loans that doesn’t charge usurious interest rates. A cut on credit card interest rates.

                Housing in large cities still remains a huge problem that I don’t see a solution for. My friends who moved to NYC in May still haven’t found housing. Here they could afford to rent a whole house in a beautiful area on one part-time social worker salary. In NYC they can afford nothing on a full-time social worker management salary.


              15. Yes, those would be the priorities. There is this home ownership fetish here. There are ways in which it’s good — a friend who’s poor is really helped by owning and having a fair amount of equity by now, he’d be hard to foreclose on and it means he’s unlikely to end on the street. BUT.


              16. Oh, I agree that this program would only give grants to lower middle class people, I think we’re in agreement. Just it affects other people.


              17. P.S. I actually looked this up just now: utility payments count NEGATIVELY on your credit score if you pay late, but not positively. There are already alternative calculations some institutions use to count them positively.


  2. So much of people’s lives are organized around living in the right school district.
    That’s why you get all this nonsense around owning homes and taking out a mortgage on more home than is strictly affordable because that’s what the housing stock is in the “nice” school district. If your kid is not in the “nice” school district and preferably in the “gifted” program, how will they get into the “good” college with a minimum of debt? So people think.

    I went to the wedding of a family friend who decided she was going to move house when her kids were in middle school and about to enter high school to live in the “good school district.” She had no reason otherwise.

    Less fortunate people without the means for private school or to move into the “nice school district” attempted to fake residency and were charged with “education fraud.”

    Either norms around living in tiny spaces/apartments/intergenerationally/with roommates will change or…we’ll continue to get shit like this:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another reason, which I failed to mention, is tiny ass apartments or “tiny homes” induce anxiety and are not conducive to any kind of social life.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. At the art lesson, there was a kid, about 6 years old, who spent two hours coloring a big sheet of paper completely black on both sides. He was aggressive, angry, sporadically violent, and his grandpa who was there clearly had no idea what to do with him.

      I feel extremely sorry for the kid who got a rough deal, whatever is causing this. I don’t think he’s irredeemable because my husband was exactly like that at this age.

      But I don’t believe that my kid should pay the price of whatever is wrong with this boy. She didn’t cause it, so she shouldn’t be dealing with this.

      This is what the issue of nice vs not nice schools is about. And I have no idea how to solve it.


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