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Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.…
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Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. - How the Working Poor Became…

by Gary Rivlin

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This is a great recent history on financial gains made from the impoverished, from payday lending, tax preparation to subprime mortgage and credit lending. It details the consequences of instant financial gratification and reveals some of the motivation behind why a consumer would subject themselves to such consequences. Regardless of the reader's income level, this book will make the reader a more aware consumer. The overall lesson, from the consumer's perspective: the majority of lenders are not on the side of the consumer. ( )
  Sovranty | Mar 17, 2014 |
A long hard look at predatory lending, it's strategies, consequences and the people that fight it. Checking cashing, pay day loans, subprime morgages, refund anticipation loans, pawnshop loans, rent to own-- it is staggering the number of ways persons of few scruples have found to extract large profits in exchange for dodgy if not downright poisonous "financial services". Rivlin's focus is on the personal consequences and actions at play and, as a book constructed primarily from interviews, he has a lot to draw from the victims, former employees, lobbyists, activists, and yes, the men that run these businesses. It's a dark story-- engrossing and edifying.

My only complaint is that Rivlin seems compelled to put a black or white hat on everyone he talks to playing up their likability or contemtability with entirely irrelevant tidbits about their appearance or bearing. It really hate it when writers do that. Just let actions speak for themselves, don't condescend to pull transparent tricks on the reader. ( )
  fundevogel | Jan 24, 2014 |
A brief history of the business of poverty; who makes money, how it is made, and what the effects of that business are on individuals, businesses, communities, and government. If you've ever wondered who uses the (now ubiquitous) payday loan outlets, why anyone would sign a bad loan agreement, and why regulating predatory lending is so difficult, this book will answer those questions and more. ( )
1 vote BruceCoulson | Dec 30, 2013 |
Interesting, if you're into reading about financial drudgery. Once I got through the first section with, admittedly, the shock factor of predatory loaning, my interest ran out. ( )
  papertygers | Sep 26, 2013 |
Depressing history of the “poverty industry,” ensuring that the poor pay more in every way, from subprime mortgages to payday lending. Rivkin talks to a lot of people who work in the industry, and work to constrain it. The most interesting parts are about the people trying to do “ethical” lending—charging a small risk premium over prime for underbanked borrowers, and generally doing pretty well for themselves and for their customers, except that their example showed the big banks that there was a ton of money to be made in subprime. There’s a note of hope in the end, which ends with the creation of the new Consumer Financial Product Safety Commission, but the story is far from over. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Feb 28, 2011 |
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Epigraph
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness.

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

--Wilkins Micawber, in David Copperfield, by Charles Dicken
Dedication
To
Daisy
and
Oliver
And in honor of two extraordinary people
who passed away during the writing of this book,

Sandra Rothbart Cohen
and
Daniel Sheafe Walker
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061733210, Hardcover)

For most, the Great Crash of 2008 has meant troubling times. Not so for those in the flourishing poverty industry, for whom shrinking wages, pink slips, and other economic woes spell an opportunity to expand and grow. Over the years, any number of mercenary entrepreneurs have taken advantage of an era of deregulation to devise high priced products to sell to the credit-hungry ranks of the working poor, from the instant tax refund to the payday loan. In the process, they've created an industry larger than the casino business and proven that even the pawnbrokers and check cashers, if they dream big enough, can grow very, very rich off those with thin wallets. Looking back across three decades, Gary Rivlin uncovers how the poverty industry actually invented the predatory subprime loan in the 1980s - eventually inspiring the likes of Countrywide and Wells Fargo to repurpose these toxic products for the USA's middle class. As Rivlin's tale reveals, these large chains are not only making fat profits and contributing to our current financial crisis - they are at the heart of it. "Broke, USA" is Rivlin's riveting report from the economic fringes. From the annual meeting of the national check cashers association in Las Vegas, to a tour of the foreclosure-riddled neighbourhoods of Dayton, OH, it's a subprime Fast Food Nation featuring an unforgettable cast of characters and memorable scenes. As Wall Street and the White House struggle to save the economy from collapse, Rivlin travels across the country profiling players ranging from a former small-town Tennessee debt collector whose business offering cash advances to the country's working poor has earned him a net worth in the hundreds of millions, to legendary Wall Street dealmaker Sandy Weill, who rode a subprime loan business into control of the nation's largest bank. He parallels their stories with the tale of those committed souls fighting back against the major corporations, chain franchises, and newly hatched enterprises that are fleecing the country's hard-working waitresses, warehouse workers, and mall clerks. Timely, shocking, and powerful, "Broke, USA" offers a much needed look at why our country is in a financial mess and gives voice to the millions of ordinary Americans left devastated in its wake.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"A unique and riveting exploration of one of America's largest and fastest-growing industries--the business of poverty"--Provided by publisher.

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