Friday, May 20, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad: May 20, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

A few bad signs this week, so let's just get on with it. There is a lot of fuckery going on in the bad economy.

  • The Christian Science Monitor asks "are auto title loans predatory?" On the one hand, I will save you the click and tell you the answer: yes. On the other hand, go read the article anyhow. 
  • In the U.S., 48 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. Not that the privileged of the nation give a hoot. And by the way, this is despite an actual increase in food production. Story via AlterNet.
  • Then again, the criminalization of poverty in the U.S. continues. According to the article, "As a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative demonstrates, over one-third of people who go through the booking process end up staying in jail simply because they can't raise enough cash to post bail. For millions of Americans in 2016, poverty is effectively a crime." Story via The Week.
  • Speaking of crimes, the exploitation of college students and making them actually pay to do unpaid internships, because, "job experience, man!" is definitely a crime. It is a sign of shameless exploitation by colleges and employers in the bad economy. Story via Inside Higher Ed
  • And Puerto Rico is in the headlines this week as Congress tries to provide some "help," if by help you mean lowering the minimum wage among other ways to further screw over Puerto Ricans. That story via the War Against All Puerto Ricans blog. Now, the economic picture in Puerto Rico is bleak, and we are talking at this point possible massive humanitarian crisis. For instance, at least ten hospitals have been in and out of bankruptcy for years. Story via El Nuevo Dia (this source is in Spanish).
  • And finally for this week, do you pay rent? Do you feel like you are not paying enough? Well, woo hoo, we got you covered as a new startup (read group of greedy assholes) now want you to bid on rent for rental properties. That's right, help jack up local rent prices, which are already astronomically obscene in some places, to line up landlords' and the start up' guys greed. And by the way, if you do get your rental, they also charge you a fee for the bidding. That is some serious fuckery right there.  I would hope this is a scam, though it looks pretty serious. Then again, this is the U.S. where finding new ways to screw the poor and vulnerable are the business of America. Story via The Grist

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