How much does it cost to raise a family in Idaho? How many jobs pay a living wage? What happens to our communities when wages are low? Broken Bootstraps answers theses questions and looks into the lives of families working full-time and still falling behind.
On Monday, Jan. 16 2012, during a protest on EZ Money Payday Loans at EZCORP 2911 W. State Street in Boise, members of the Idaho Community Action Network released a report titled “Predatory Lenders Trap Idahoan’s in a Cycle of Debt.”
According to the report, Idaho families are: “increasingly struggling to make ends meet. Affordable small scale loans, which could tide families over, are hard or impossible to come by. Finding no alternative, families are turning to “payday” and title loans that come with high interest rates and often wind up trapping them in a cycle of debt.”
ICAN member Diana Corcorran from Downey, Idaho shared her story in the report:
“I took out payday loans to pay our bills and for my son’s medical care. Right now I owe money on two payday loans and have taken out others in the past. For a 1,000 dollar loan we pay 120 dollars each month for a year, which has proven to be a significant drain on our finances.”
Payday and title loans are big business for corporations representing the country’s wealthiest one percent. This includes many of the same Wall Street banks, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, which were bailed out after crashing our economy in 2008. These large financial institutions receive money from the Federal Reserve at a rate currently below a tenth of a percent , loan money out to payday lenders at over ten times that to a rate of about three percent , who then loan money to consumers at a rate several hundred times larger at over 400 percent. Meanwhile, payday lending corporations and their CEO’s pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into political contributions. In the period between 1996 and 2006, the payday lending industry gave $93,400 to state-level candidates in Idaho. Virtually all of this money ($90,900; 97 percent) came from outside of the state.
The report identifies specific policies that lawmakers can pursue in the 2012 Legislative session to show that they stand with Idahoans—and not with the payday and titled lenders backed by Wall Street Lawmakers.
Congress is locked in a budget battle that’s grabbed round-the-clock media attention. Lost in the coverage are the real stakes in the debate, including the lives of the more than 50 million people covered by Medicaid, which is now in the budget-cutting cross-hairs. More than half of these 50 million are people of color. Racial disparities in health coverage have already reached alarming proportions. Cuts to Medicaid would make these disparities even worse, taking a toll on the real lives of real people.
The experiences and perspectives of some of these real people are captured in Medicaid Makes a Difference: Protecting Medicaid, Advancing Racial Equity, from the Alliance for a Just Society and 14 members of its Health Rights Organizing Project (HROP), a network of grassroots organizations across the country committed to the fight for health equity. ICAN is a member of HROP.
Thanks to Medicaid, Adan Ramirez, of Heyburn, Idaho, has received medical coverage for his ailing heart. Eduardo Magaña, a youth from Burley, Idaho and his family are able to get medical checkups because of Medicaid. Without the program, none of this care would be available to Adan and Eduardo and millions of people like them.
Congress has been doling out tax breaks to corporations and millionaires. It’s time for Congress to change its priorities, because Medicaid matters, and so do our country’s communities of color.
Click here to download the MEDICAID MAKES A DIFFERENCE – Protecting Medicaid, Advancing Racial Equity report.
Click here to call your Member of Congress and tell them to protect Medicaid and stand strong for people of color.