Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Poor Tax

Why is it that almost every day I am reminded of the Great Depression, in particular the Parker Brothers Monopoly game and its "Poor Tax" card? By taxes, I mean the endless stream of corporate scams on the poorest, least educated people.

If you pay attention at what's promoted you'll find come-ons to
  • call toll-free for "easy money" ... just sign over your car and pay interest forever
  • get help with bankruptcy, foreclosure, the IRS ... from "fixers"
  • ask a pharmaceutical or medical supply company ... to bilk Medicaid for you
The latest I've come across, courtesy of Paychex, Chase Visa and your friendly employer, is the application for a Chase Pay Card Plus. Here's the come-on:

"Instead of waiting in line to cash your paycheck, have your pay automatically deposited to a Chase Pay Card Plus account." Sure ...
  • if you pay $1.50 to $3.00 per automated teller machine withdrawal, 
  • $1.00 to $3.00 to find out your balance, 
  • $5.00 for over-the-counter withdrawals (after your four "free" ones)
  • $12 for a check to close your account
  • $3 a month for "inactivity"
... and hey, you can get the card delivered to you extra fast for only $24.75 !!!!

They will allow you FREE point-of-sale transactions (they filch from the merchants, instead).

But wait ... what's this about "3.5% per international conversion rate transaction"?

This is targeted to immigrants (who else would regularly need international remittances?), in addition to the welfare mother waitress with three minimum-wage jobs living in a motel and dreaming of Aruba. The "unbanked."

Did the banks discover the low-income worker "market" while bilking states that "privatized" and "automated" their public assistance programs at the behest of the Bushies? You betcha.

There's a sucker born every day in America -- and it isn't the JPirateMorgan Chase Bank.
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