I'm going to divulge my full, complete, unabridged financial situation online, to total strangers, on the Internet.
Why would I do such a thing? What could possess me to reveal such a personal thing to scads of people I've never met, opening myself to ridicule and derision on the World Wide Web?
Because apparently that's what it will take for some of you to understand why I support the Occupy Wall Street movement, and its offshoots and splinter protests.
I am a white, Republican male, and college ruined my life. I decided to go to a local University, knowing my grades in high school hadn't been the best (but that's a rant for another industry). I'd always had problems keeping a job because I do have a touch of an attitude problem--I like to be treated as a human being in the workplace, and employers don't like that so much. Again, rant for another industry.
So I get it in my head to go to college (I won't lie, there was a really cute blonde involved) and make something of myself. I had no credit. I come from a poor family (sorry for outing you financially, mom & dad!), and I wasn't working at the time. I didn't have the grades for scholarships, and as I'm not a minority and can't get pregnant, I only qualified for one grant.
I had to borrow money for the application fee, and if my high school drama teacher hadn't paid for my ACT test my junior year, I'd really have been up a creek, but I got things settled themselves. I got a job on campus, and a credit card to help build good credit (having no credit is worse than having bad credit), and a cell phone to keep in touch with the folks. They were paying most of it, for which I still owe them, but I footed most of the bill on student loans.I didn't own a car (couldn't afford one) and I could barely afford to do laundry, but I made it. And I was proud of myself.
Until my 8-5 classes (five days a week) and my midnight work schedule (12-8) started to clash with my homework (usually at least 2 hours per class each night) and the extracurricular activity I had, fencing, which was also my only non-walking-to-class exercise. Oh, and the cute blonde? She wanted a cut of my time, too. And my neighbors didn't understand that some of us slept from 5-10, and liked to blare loud music while they studied. And I got shoved in charge of a small campus newsletter protesting the campus-run journalism organization's tastelessness and unprofessionalism, a position I did not request.
It was just too much. I took a semester off, and though I filed all the proper paperwork, the University still claims that I owe them $1300 because the paperwork was misfiled somehow. This also caused my student loans to come out of deferrment immediately. Since I didn't go to school there, I also lost my on-campus job, causing the full weight of the cost of my "education" to be felt immediately.
In the years since, I have had a run of bad luck with bad employers. I've been asked to leave a job because they demanded that my sick days be covered by a doctor's excuse, though I got no health insurance and they refused to pay me enough to see a doctor. When my parents bought me a car for my birthday and it basically imploded, I was working as a delivery boy. They cut my hours because I couldn't drive, but that also meant I couldn't afford to fix my car. I've had jobs blatantly steal money from me, denying me paychecks I have worked 20-40 hours a week to earn for reasons they've made up, because I couldn't afford to take them to court over it.
When I was in college, I lost my bank account. There's this lovely thing called "ChexSystems" that banks join that's like a credit-reporting-agency stoolpigeon, only for your checking accounts. Since most banks belong to it, screw up at one bank (or in my case, lose the receipt that proves you paid that bank off in full), and they'll hold it against you for at least 5 years, and you won't be able to get a checking account anywhere else. Last time I looked, it would cost me $350 plus the opening minimum deposit to clear up this ChexSystems nonsense from before 2007.
Since I can't get a checking account, there are a lot of places that will hire me, but refuse to pay me--most businesses refuse to issue paper payroll checks anymore, and rely solely on direct deposit. They won't FIRE you, they'll just not pay you. And somehow they can get away with that without being prosecuted into the ground.
I live in a rural area. The city limits of the town my Post Office says I live in is a two-hour walk away. It is the nearest source of employment. I don't have a car because I can't afford one, but I can't find a job without walking at least two hours in either the hot Kentucky sun, or the chilling Kentucky wind, and looking a wreck when I actually get to anywhere hiring.
And should I find anything in this little podunk town, I will most likely not get it. It's the kind of town where everyone knows everybody, so one irrational dislike will lead you to becoming a pariah quickly. I can't get a job in the service industry, either, because I can't afford dental care. Nobody will hire a waiter with a broken smile.
I can't look in other towns, with more possibilities, because I can't afford the gas money required to borrow a vehicle. $10 might as well be "I won the lottery!" to me, and spending it on an all-day job hunt in another town, which rarely turns up any possibilities, only becomes more complicated if I actually become employed in said town. How do I expect to borrow someone's car for enough paychecks to buy a clunker of my own?
I cannot get a credit card. My credit is shot because my student loans are in default--between my inability to find stable work, and outright lying by my lenders. I could get a secured credit card to raise my score (a whopping 502!), but that would require a deposit of cash. At a bank.
Banks are institutions, like credit companies, that only make money if you're poor. They charge you to use your own money, money you've earned, and they charge you more when you run out. They cannot remain viable unless you are in debt. This means I have to resort to cash, which I cannot use online (where most of my shopping is done, due to my lack of a vehicle), and most businesses frown nowadays if you aren't paying with credit or debit. I've actually been turned out of an establishment for attempting to pay in cash.
Furthermore, because of their consistency to charge excessive fees when they know (as they're handling your money) that you cannot afford them, banks and credit corporations are actually creating money out of thin air; charging you dollars that don't physically exist, because there's no caps on what they can charge. The U.S. Gov't does this as well, leading us to our current economic issue:
The more money "exists", the less each bit of it is worth.
By charging you cash that doesn't physically exist, cash that's already well beyond its ability to be backed by tangible assets, banks and credit unions are getting rich with invisible money WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY completely devaluing the American dollar.
So, let's review:
- I cannot get a job without a bank account.
- I cannot get a job without a car.
- I cannot get a car without a bank account.
- I cannot get a car without better credit.
- I cannot get a bank account without a job.
- I cannot get better credit without a job.
- I cannot get a car without a job.
- I cannot afford basic dental or healthcare without a job.
- I have been turned away from jobs for my dental problems.
- I have been turned away from jobs due to my credit rating.
If, after reading this, you still believe that the current economic system of deflating the dollar by backing it with government trust and no actual tangible value, leaving it to be created and destroyed at whim digitally by banks, credit companies, and the U. S. Government, actually works, please either
- Give me some of the billions in your bank account, or
- Go have your head examined.
Hope your health insurance covers that.