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Stopping Exploitation with a Living Income Guaranteed

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by Fidelis Spies 

imagesgr_thumb[1] When you hear about drivers that got their licenses suspended you probably think it was because of reckless driving, but it is not the case.

In Florida 88% of suspensions were due to failure to comply with summons or fines.

Now here is things get extremely problematic and nonsensical – Most people drive to work so losing your car affects everything in your life. In New Jersey a Survey was done that found that 63% of low income drives that lost their car also lost their jobs.

How are they supposed to pay their fine if you take away their means of paying it?

It gets worse:

There are private probation companies that supervise people that have minor offenses and collect their outstanding fines at no costs to the courts, instead they get their money from the probationers in exchange for their services.

Here is an example of how that works based on an actual event:

One Woman was fined $25 for not wearing a seat belt as well as $16 for the court costs – a total fine of $41. She was unable to pay the fine at that stage and thus was handed over to one of these private probation Companies. Now here is where things get really messed up:

 

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She was then put on a monthly payment plan in order to pay the fine, but the costs of this payment plan was $35 per month. All moneys that the woman sent in was applied to the service fees first before going to the actual fine, meaning she first has to pay the $35 before she is able to pay the actual $41 fine. Now, she I not able to afford that $35 monthly fee, so this is starting to accumulate – eventually she sat with a $299 bill PLUS the $41 fine. Eventually if you  cannot afford the bill you can be sent to jail because you cannot afford the bill.

Here is another terrifying example of this Ruined Hariet Cleveland’s Life:

“Cleveland’s $140 monthly payment – $40 of which went to fees – was a terrifying burden. She lost her day care job during the recession and was barely scraping by. She paid what she could, even when it meant her money was only going toward the company’s fees.

Finally, Cleveland didn’t have any more money to give. She received a notice in the mail: Pay $2,714 or go to jail. Not long after, a police officer arrived and arrested her while she was babysitting her grandson. A judge sentenced her to 31 days in jail because she was too poor to pay.” – https://www.splcenter.org/news/2014/08/26/splc-lawsuit-closes-debtors%E2%80%99-prison-alabama-capital

These Companies are making money out of people who have none. Why are we punishing people for being poor? This is an Impossible situation for low income people where they really have no way out. This kind of exploitation is something that must be stopped.

This is something that we can change with a better system, one that considers the individual needs of people in different situations. Not only would these people above live far better lives with the Living Income Guaranteed, but we can implement solutions to stops the obvious exploitation of people in these situations so that no person’s life get ruined just because they are poor.

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

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Life Isn’t Supposed to be this Hard

Posted on Updated on

By Cerise Poolman

Labor force South Africa Living Income Minimum WageI have had many conversations with people, mostly people who are in low-paying jobs without much prospects for advancement, conversations about life. The thing that everyone agrees on is that life shouldn’t be this hard. Sometimes someone might say something like “I don’t know what we can do, maybe just pray harder.” To this I will respond with something like I think that what will be more effective than prayer to make a difference is action. If we all take action together, united in the goal of making life better, then we will see great changes – and everyone agrees to this logic. I have not met one person who says “NO, action won’t change anything!” The worst thing within all of this is that this life is difficult because we make it so. The worst part is that we could change the world if we took action, but we don’t.

One of the most popular excuses I hear is that it’s “other peoples’ faults”. The world is horrible and I have a crap life because of all the a-holes in the world. There are too many people who won’t change. The world will never change when there are so many bad people. This excuse is used to justify our own inaction – because apparently any effort we make would have no results and so it’s not even worth the effort. It’s as if we’re waiting for guaranteed paths of action, unwilling to move until we are absolutely sure that what we do will actually work. In a way this is the easy way out, because standing for change means going out into the unknown, no certainty as to what lies ahead.

Here in South Africa a very large part of the workforce survives on minimum wage, well below the poverty line. A large number of people live in illegal or government housing (which doesn’t appear to be very different when you put the two next to each other). These are the people who are hurt the most by this world, who are the most vulnerable. At this stage the only ways that they can try to bring about change is through protests, sometimes violent and sometimes not. At this stage there is a diminished level of understanding as to how change can be brought about – not only by impoverished people, but by most people.

There is a serious hole in the understanding of the average citizen Joe of how the system works, and more importantly, the power that each person has. Back to South Africa, what can the impoverished and vulnerable do to change their lives? They have minimal support from public (government) and community structures – dealing with the government is like pulling teeth, but pulling the wrong one each time. These people do not know how to ask the right questions, most of the time they do not even know what their rights are and what support structures are available to them. What then can they do? They often have only limited skills in reading and writing and, if any, very limited access to public sources of knowledge such as the internet. To add to this, the leaders they are most likely to choose are the ones who stir passion in their hearts, whether the message they are giving makes sense or not. Then there is the question of those who are more privileged – how far does their responsibility extend to the underprivileged?

I would say that where one has the ability and understanding to support another then they also have the responsibility to do so. What defines ‘ability’? Resources, skills, knowledge – but to what degree? Well, let me put it this way: If you know that you can help, then it becomes your responsibility to do so. Waiting for someone else to come along and help so that you don’t have to is an abdication of your responsibility to your community – and I don’t mean ‘community’ in the smallest sense of the word, I mean it in the largest sense, the global sense.

Life isn’t supposed to be this hard. We can change it. We can help each other. We can give opportunities to each other. We can support each other to be the best we can be. It’s doesn’t start with some other guys over there – it starts with YOU and ME. WE are the change, TOGETHER we are better, stronger. We have the responsibility to support solutions that will bring heaven to Earth. We may not see the full fruits of our labours in our lifetime, but maybe our children will.

 

Promotion of and Education on a Living Income Guaranteed for South Africa.

 

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