Relevant news, appropriate headlines from the real deal
and this week from the youtubes:
and this week from the youtubes:
The recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have re-ignited efforts to pass “Red Flag” laws, which allow the government to take away a person’s guns without due process, and expanded background checks on those wishing to purchase a gun. Some supporters of these measures acknowledge they would not have prevented the Dayton and El Paso shootings, but they think the government must “do something,“ even if that something only makes it more difficult for average Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The fact that one of the shooters may have been motivated by anti-immigrant views has led to calls for government surveillance of “right-wing extremists.” There are talks of developing computer programs to search social media and identify those whose extreme views supposedly make them likely to commit violence. There are also calls for legislation giving the government new powers to prevent “domestic terrorism.”
Proposals targeting individuals based on their political beliefs — no matter how noxious they are — are a step toward criminalizing those beliefs. If the government gains new powers to treat those with abhorrent beliefs as potential criminals, it will not be long before those powers are used against anyone who challenges the welfare-warfare status quo.
The current use of “right-wing extremism” as a justification for expanding the surveillance state is the mirror image of the use of “Islamo-fascism” to justify the post 9-11 infringements on civil liberties. That is why it is distressing to see progressives and Muslim advocacy groups pushing for new federal authority to crack down on “domestic terrorism,” just as it was disappointing when so many conservatives who opposed Bill Clinton’s attempt to expand the surveillance state endorsed the exact same proposals when they were included in the PATRIOT Act. It is ironic that progressives are supporting new laws against domestic terrorism while simultaneously protesting FBI targeting of Black Lives Matter activists as domestic terrorists.
This is not to say there are not those with extreme ideologies who threaten our liberty and safety, but they are the Republicans and Democrats located in Washington, DC! The most obvious example of DC-based violent extremism is the war party propagandists who spread falsehoods to build support for regime change wars. By the time their falsehoods have been exposed, it is too late: America is stuck in another no-win quagmire and the war party has moved on to its next target.
Demagogic politicians also fan fear and hatred to protect and expand the welfare state. Right-wing nationalists scapegoat illegal migrants without distinguishing between those who come here to take advantage of the welfare system from those who come here seeking economic opportunity — while left-wing progressives demonize the wealthy without distinguishing between those who made their fortunes in the market serving consumers and those who made their fortunes by manipulating the political process. These extremists use scapegoating and demagoguery to gain power and keep the people from focusing on the real source of their discontent: the welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system that makes it possible.
As the welfare-warfare-fiat money system collapses, we will see increased violence. This will result in an increase in police state power. The only way to avoid this fate is for good people to unite and replace the extremist ideologies of the mainstream of both left and right with the ideas of liberty. A good start would be applying “Red Flag” laws to remove neocons from any influence over US foreign policy!
Abstract: The political system in the United States has become a divisive tool that no longer works on behalf of, at the behest of, or with the best interests of the American people as the sole determining factor for the policies and decisions that are made at the federal, state, and local level. “The people’s representatives”- which was the intended role of elected officials envisioned by the Founding Fathers who put in place a representative democracy- have become beholden to political parties, monied special interests and corporations, and have succeeded in creating a dynamic whereby they now rule rather than represent the American people. There are three substantive reforms that, if enacted, would serve to eliminate the major causes of corruption, dysfunction, and oligarchical tendencies of the American political system that has replaced the United States Constitution: the elimination of “political parties” and affiliations, mandated term-limits, and external non-governmental ethics and oversight committees that have the authority to mandate removal from office, release of information, and ensure certain issues are made available to public consent.
Anyone who has an interest in the cult of personality political system that has taken over our country understands the problems and shortcomings of our current political climate. Unkept promises. Divisive rhetoric. Special interests and lobbyists. There was a saying when I was young (and I do paraphrase but the sentiment is intact)- “America is a country where anyone can grow up and become the President.” I don’t hear that anymore. It isn’t true and everyone knows it. Another sentiment that people once believed in was the notion that our government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Does anyone still buy that? I don’t think so.
I have begun calling myself a “political atheist”. I didn’t coin the term- it is a phrase I heard trends forecaster Gerald Celente use and decided it was appropriate for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t follow politics or care about them- it is just a personal recognition that this great sham that calls itself our political system, “our government”- is a dysfunctional cabal of merry men and women that are bought and paid for by globalists and corporations. “Politics” is nothing more or less than a scripted theatrical production designed to make money. That’s all.
Prove me wrong.
Who profits from this system? The globalist corporations. The political candidates who go to Washington DC as humble (mostly) lawyers and return home as very wealthy well-connected players. Everyone knows this. Yet, hope springs eternal that the next schmuck we send up there is going to reform the system, make a difference, drain the swamp.
It’s not going to happen. It just keeps rolling along, becoming progressively more oppressive, oligarchical, and dangerous. No matter which party you vote for, the globalist agenda continues, just with different nomenclatures. Electing the “right people” is not the solution. It isn’t even a viable option anymore. The whole system has to be reformed. Then, electing the “right people” within that framework, is the only hope we have of having a voice in our government again. There are three concrete steps that can be taken to start returning the will of the people to the people:
Eliminate political parties
The notion of a viable “third party” has been a part of the discussion for a long time. I myself voted for Ross Perot way back in 1992. Another option to the “two sides of the same coin” Republican/Democrat” paradigm has always been a theorized alternative to the entrenched political duopoly. This sort of system exists in some form in many other democracies- often dubbed the “parliamentary system”- where a coalition must be formed for a governing majority.
As attractive as a third party is, I believe instead of creating a third option, it would just create a third side to the same coin. Who would be attracted to a third party? Would it reduce political problems or create more? I think it would cause 33% more division than currently exists. More need for campaigning. More need for “compromise”, another tier of political wrangling. Look at the countries that have third (and fourth and fifth) parties. I don’t see better choices or representation. I see more chaos. On an exponential level.
If we could eliminate the parties, we eliminate a layer of beholden- a “loyalty” people claim in order to receive the endorsement and money of an established political machine. Parties are a banner candidates hide behind. In spite of stated “platforms”, electing a “D” or an “R” is no guarantee that the supposed platform will be followed. Greg Abbott is the Republican governor of Texas and William Weld is the former Republican governor of Massachusetts. There is no similarity in the policies or ideologies of either.
Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy were both Democratic presidents- and there is no similarities or consistency between their policies while in office. President Kennedy was confronted with missiles in Cuba and told the Soviets you will take the missiles out of there. President Obama was confronted with the threats of nuclear weapons in Iran, and sent them billions of dollars- in cash- to allegedly halt that program. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency several Democrat Senators switched to the Republican party. Senator Arlen Specter switched from Democrat to Republican, and then several years later, back to Democrat again. They don’t have ideology or ideas they believe in- they follow the money and the best chance of getting re-elected.
We should elect people based upon their beliefs, standards, and principles. Without a party banner to hide behind, we remove assumptions, false ideologies, and a layer of “party loyalty” that is detrimental. Candidates should have to state what they believe- not what party they belong to. What they are going to do- not what their party is working to do. We don’t need meaningless empty rhetoric about “partisanship” and “bi-partisanship.”
And it will cause people to actually learn a little about these people they are voting for- rather than just what meaningless letter is behind their name. That would be the biggest benefit of all.
I used to be very much against term limits. I thought that voters should be the determiner of term limits- at the voting booth. If you have a good representative- as we did in our district when we had Dr. Ron Paul- it would be a shame to force them out. But, unfortunately, the opposite is more common. You get these bad politicians and you can’t get them out. It’s easy to shrug and say “well they keep voting for Maxine Waters so they deserve it” but it’s just not that simple.
One, I don’t think a lot of these politicians are really winning these elections- at least not fairly. We are learning more and more about voter fraud, election rigging, and ballot manipulation all the time. Oftentimes, once you get them in there, you just can’t get them out. Like the old Soviet expression goes- “it’s not who votes that matters, it’s who counts the votes that matters.”
Two, referring back to topic one- elimination of political parties- it doesn’t matter if you win the election, it matters if the party LETS you win the election. Bernie Sanders supporters learned about this in 2016. The parties have a hundred tools at their disposal to ensure THEIR candidate is the winner.
Three, saying “well that is THEIR problem” (unless, of course it is your district affected) simply isn’t true. The entire country, not just Arizona, is affected by boneheads like John McCain, who cast the deciding vote to stop the repeal of Obamacare. And there wasn’t a damn thing anyone outside of Arizona could do about it.
Give them all six years. That’s all they need. If they know that going in- maybe we will get some people interested in making a difference instead of making a career.
Non-governmental ethics and oversight committee
Remember the #MeToo movement? It was a thinly-veiled attempt in the frenzied, panicked days following President Trumps election to set a precedent and justification for his disqualification. Although the “movement”- lacking credibility due to the duplicitous moral character of its’ mouthpieces- was unsuccessful in getting Trump, there were some politicians and public figures who were taken down by the attempt. One of those was Senator Al Franken, who was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. Under pressure to fall on his sword, Franken resigned. But he clearly wasn’t happy with being compelled to do so.
Franken said he believed an investigation by the ethics committee would have cleared his name.
And I believe he was correct.
We have a ‘fox guarding the hen house’ situation with our elected officials. One of the things that came out during that “scandal” was the revelation that Congress has a slush fund to pay off victims of sexual misconduct by members of Congress.
Many years ago, there was a House banking scandal- “Rubber-gate” which revealed that House members could basically write hot checks on their accounts without fear of penalty. I could list all the types of ethical violations those folks in DC are involved in, but it would take too long.
People also believe that there are no more secrets due to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This too is a scam. Some people never get a response, one interviewee I saw on a show one day said he once got his information EIGHT YEARS after the request, and most often, what a requester receives is a highly redacted, worthless document. Generally, the requester is told that the information cannot be released due to “national security.”
We need an Oversight Committee that is completely independent of government. It would operate like a Grand Jury. People would be selected at random like jury duty, and serve on the committee for a year. They would be paid for their service, and their employers would be required to restore them at the end of this duty.
This committee would have the authority to review and fulfill FOIA requests, investigate ethics violations and have the authority to remove egregious violators from office. And, most importantly, this committee would have the authority to determine which issues are of such vital importance to the citizenry that they should be removed from the jurisdiction of representatives and put to a direct vote of the citizenry.
An example of this would be war. If the President or the Congress wants to go to war- they must get the approval of the ones that bear the burden of this action in terms of human lives and treasure- The PEOPLE.
Do we need a border wall for national security? Let the people vote on it. Should the members of Congress get a raise? Let their employers- the people- decide.
The elitist notion that “We the people” are too stupid, uninformed, and lacking in sophistication to make important decisions is wrong, outdated, and dangerous. Perhaps we are too passive, trusting, and apathetic- but we are also being deceived and “played” by a well-funded group of professional politicos. They do what they do because they can.
They are successful largely because they have succeeded in dividing Americans into a false paradigm of two competing ideologies. These political parties are self-serving and exist to create the illusion of “choice”. They are archaic remnants of a true political competition, and should be eliminated.
The politicians and their political machine have perfected a deception that elections are valid and fair. Presently- except for “landslide” results- most elections can be manipulated and managed in a way that the desired candidate is “victorious.” The rare exception to this managed result will soon be a thing of the past with technological advances in propaganda and incontestable election results. The only antidote to this election fraud is term-limits.
Lastly, the political machine has been successful in removing itself from public accountability and consequences. It is a self-policing, hidden agenda organization, that has been able through deceit, prevarication, and delay/distract methods to avoid responsibility, disclosure, and oversight. A non-governmental, independent committee made up of a cross-section of unaffiliated citizens is the only way to bring accountability to, and deter future betrayals of the peoples’ trust.
and this week from the youtubes:
Home gardening is a rewarding endeavor- it is a connection with nature, a useful skill, and gets you involved in physical activity. But be warned- once you have grown your own tomatoes, melons, or peppers- you will realize that those pretty veggies at the grocery store are more suited for the bowl on the coffee table than the bowl on the kitchen table.
I’ve never crunched the numbers- just the veggies- but I suspect you don’t save much money- if any- by growing your own. But that is not why I do it. The produce is SO much better, it is fun and rewarding, and, these days especially, you know you aren’t getting pesticide- laced GMO poison fruit. That tastes like plastic.
One day, I was speculating about the size of my property in comparison to my neighbors. Though not drastically, it seemed to me that my little plot was smaller. So, I found a plat map and discovered that not only was it smaller than the neighbors- I, in fact, have the smallest lot in my whole town. I take great pride in this for some reason, because to the best of my knowledge, nobody else in town has the crop yield that comes from the Bonderosa- the smallest urban garden in my area.
That is the first thing to know about the home garden- you don’t need 200 acres, 40 acres, or a large backyard. In fact, you don’t need any land at all. Many, many plants can be grown in containers. Some even do better in containers. Peppers, tomatoes, berries, citrus- just to name a few- can be grown on a deck, porch, or windowsill. We don’t live off of our small plot at the Bonderosa- but when the SHTF- it could certainly provide enough to keep us nutrified and sustained if we needed it too with some effort and commitment.
The next thing you need to know- is what will grow where you are. The Bonderosa’s location in Southeast Texas is Zone 9- Zone 1 being the coolest, Zone 10 the warmest. We have the advantage of very few frosts and freezes, so we basically have a year round growing season. We have a spring garden, a summer garden, a fall garden, and a winter garden. This is, of course, rare in the gardening world, but with a backyard/patio garden you will be surprised how much growing season you can manipulate with coverings, mulches, and lights- which isn’t possible with large acreage gardens. But, despite all the preparations and enrichments one might employ, some things simply do not grow in certain environments.
No matter what or how we try, we simply cannot grow certain things here. Whether it be due to humidity, elevation, soil composition, or other environmental conditions- you will not succeed in trying to grow cherries, almonds, walnuts, raspberries, mangoes, cranberries, lilac, or spruce- just to name a few. There are also extreme limitations and intensive preparations required to grow select hybridized varieties of things such as apples, peaches, plums, pineapples, grapes, blueberries, potatoes, and avocados. Conversely, some things such as pecans, blackberries, and citrus grow wild here and require minimal effort. Other things will GROW just fine, but will never produce fruit.You have to know what will and won’t grow in your area.
At the Bonderosa, we have some plants that I call “money crops”. Not that I try to actually sell them and make money, but they are plants that are perfectly suited for the environment, and produce large amounts of fruit with minimal effort. Some of the things that grow perfectly here and produce an unbelievable amount of food- “bang for the buck”- are blackberries, okra, tomatoes, green beans, and peppers. For example, I have just six okra plants in my garden right now and they make so much that we cannot eat them all. Nor can I even hardly have the time to be diligent enough to pick them all while they are producing without some becoming too large and tough. We have gallon freezer bags of blackberries and peppers almost year round.
Commercial farmers in our area grow rice, cotton, and pecans. Some also grow corn and sorghum, but not as much. Many commercial crops, such as corn and rice can be grown in the home garden, but aren’t practical because it takes large amounts of acreage or plants to get a productive crop. These are all factors to consider when choosing which plants to grow in your garden.
At the Bonderosa, in general, we grow the following:
Spring- squash, green beans, pinto beans, red potatoes, tomatoes, blackberries, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, onions, cantaloupes, sunflowers, and eggplant.
Summer- black-eyed peas, purple hulled peas, okra, sweet potatoes, and peppers. It is just too hot to really grow much of anything else that can tolerate the heat.
Fall- tomatoes, red potatoes, beans, carrots, cucumbers, and sometimes squash. As you can see, there are similarities in the spring and fall crops due to the temperatures and hours of sunlight, but some do better in the spring- like red potatoes and tomatoes- because the sunlight and temperature are increasing, while some like the decreasing conditions in fall- like carrots.
Unlike most zones, we can grow quite a few things in winter, and in many ways it is our favorite garden varieties. Our winter crops include broccoli, celery, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and sweet peas.
Another thing you will learn, is what plants to gather seed from, and which ones are a waste of time. Some plants will not grow from seeds you gather- new ones must be bought each time like broccoli and carrots- while others, like beans, squash, and melons will do quite well from collected seeds. I have a variety of heirloom tomatoes that have become “hybridized” to the Bonderosa. They have become better with each succeeding generation of plants grown from our seeds.
I encourage everyone to try out the home garden. It is fun, rewarding, and delicious. It is a connection with nature and with an ancient skill. You will gain an appreciation for what our ancestors and forefathers went through- and realize how fortunate we are today that we don’t have to worry about droughts and freezes and pestilences threatening our very survival. And, it is assuring somehow, that if you really HAD to provide for yourself, you would have some skills that would benefit you greatly.
If you have any questions, never hesitate to contact me- I am always willing to share what I know.
Get growing! and start a real green revolution in your world.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.- Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV)
When explaining the coming destruction of Israel to Ezekiel, God told him that there was no one to stand for the people, no one to plead for the mercy of the Lord on behalf of the inhabitants of the land.
We see great courage at times- people who are willing to stand for our freedoms, our rights, against the abuses of government. Many defend our right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the freedom of assembly or due process- how many do we see that will stand for the Lord?
People who will stand for the weak and oppressed, who will stand against lies, immorality, and evil?
In ancient times, a wall was the best defense against enemies. If there was a breach, a gap, the enemies would rush in through that opening and take the city. Brave men would have to stand in the gap, to hold the enemy back until the breach could be repaired.
We are in a spiritual battle. There are many breaches in the wall. Immorality, jealousies, lies, corruption, greed, selfishness- wordliness of all sorts have breached the spiritual wall in our lives. The enemy is rushing in to take the city.
Will you stand in the gap?
It does not take everyone to fill the gap. It does not take a multitude. It only takes one.
Moses stood in the gap for his people. After all God had done for the children of Israel, they made a golden calf to worship. God decided that it was time to turn the page on this bunch, and start again:
Exodus 32- 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
But Moses pleaded for his people and saved them:
11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Psalm 106:23– Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
There are other stories of people who stood up for their people- Esther, against the evil designs of Haman, Abraham stood for Sodom-though it was in vain. Stephen prayed for those who were stoning him, and Jesus himself plead for those who hung Him on the cross.
When you are willing to stand in the gap, you may inspire others to do so as well. When they see your courage, your willingness to plead for them- they may decide to join you in the breach, to hold back the destruction that will otherwise surely come.
Or maybe they won’t. But if you will not, who will?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
The entire chapter of Ezekiel 22 is a good, easy to understand chapter of the Bible. It eerily parallels the times we are in now:
Ezekiel 22: 1 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.
3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord God, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
4 Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
5 Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
6 Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
8 Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.
10 In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
11 And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.
12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God.
13 Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.
14 Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.
15 And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
16 And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.
17 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
20 As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
21 Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst therof.
22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.
23 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.
25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.
29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God. –King James Version
God is looking for people to stand in the gap, to save the land. Will you?
and this week from the youtubes:
and this week from the youtubes:
and this week from the youtubes:
authored by Daisy Luther of the Organic Prepper Blog America’s Poverty Trap: How A Small Financial Setback Can Spiral Into an Inescapable Disaster
The problem with poverty in America is that the system is designed to keep you poor. Maybe it’s just because poor people are easier to control. I have written before about how to survive when you’re so broke that you can’t pay your bills and while the comments were largely supportive, there are always a few smug, superior souls who blame the people who are struggling for their problems. The thing is, poverty is a trap, and one seeming small setback can spiral into a disaster from which you cannot extricate yourself.
When you are living a financially fragile life, it seems like someone somewhere is trying to keep you poor. Why is it so hard to get ahead? Well, because the system is rigged against you when you’re living paycheck to paycheck with fee after fee after fee. Because what makes more sense than charging someone who already can’t pay their bills even more money?
First, there are the fees. We’ve written here about undisclosed fees that most people are being hit with, but bank fees are even worse.
If you bounce a payment by so much as a penny, then you are hit with a charge from your bank and most times, a charge from the business that was taking the payment from your account. Most banks charge anywhere from $25-$38.50 when you have non-sufficient funds for a payment. Businesses charge in the same range, so that means that if one payment goes awry, you can lose $50-$77 in the blink of an eye.
Banks love NSF and overdraft fees. Why? Because in 2017, Americans paid $34 billion in fees for not having enough money to cover a payment.
Some of these fees come from the automatic payments that come from our accounts. Mortgage, car payments, insurance payments, and other bills are often automatically debited. Other fees come when a person has “overdraft protection” on their debit cards. This is when a person doesn’t have enough money in his or her account for a debit to go through but their credit union or bank covers it anyway.
The government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains just how insane these fees are. (Emphasis mine)
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that raises concerns about the impact of opting into overdraft services for debit card and ATM transactions. The study found that the majority of debit card overdraft fees are incurred on transactions of $24 or less and that the majority of overdrafts are repaid within three days. Put in lending terms, if a consumer borrowed $24 for three days and paid the median overdraft fee of $34, such a loan would carry a 17,000 percent annual percentage rate (APR).
“Today’s report shows that consumers who opt into overdraft coverage put themselves at serious risk when they use their debit card,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Despite recent regulatory and industry changes, overdrafts continue to impose heavy costs on consumers who have low account balances and no cushion for error. Overdraft fees should not be ‘gotchas’ when people use their debit cards.” (source)
So to be clear, the banking system is set up to take the most money from people with the lowest balances.
Imagine you have a bill that attempts to debt from your account twice, costing you $50. Then another payment, a smaller one, that would have gone through if the other bill hadn’t gotten there first, bounces too. Now you’ve lost $75. It’s pretty easy to see how another payment – even one for a few bucks, could bounce next. Now you’ve lost $100.
By the time you actually have the money to cover all the fees, how on earth are you supposed to pay the bill that put your in the negative in the first place?
I know what a lot of you are thinking. “I’ve never bounced a check in my life” or “these people need to get control of their spending and they wouldn’t have these fees.”
But this vicious spiral can be caused by something as seemingly trivial as a person’s pay being direct-deposited one hour late on payday. It can occur when payday is on a Saturday but your funds won’t be deposited until Monday but your debits are still coming out regardless that it’s a weekend. It isn’t always personal irresponsibility that causes a person to be unable to cover the payments coming out of his or her account.
Once you’re in the hole for a couple hundred dollars in NSF or overdraft fees, how in the world do you get out? If your financial situation is so precarious that one bounced payment causes this cartwheel of non-sufficient funds, how are you supposed to ever get caught up?
Next, there are late fees and the re-connect fees.
If one of the payments that went awry in your overdraft avalanche happens to be a utility bill, things get even worse for a person who is struggling. Particularly if you aren’t able to cover the bill in sufficient time to keep your utilities from getting shut off. How much you’ll be charged varies by company but if they really feel like you’ll have trouble paying in the future, they stick it to you, making it nearly impossible to get your power or heat turned back on. Here are some examples
They can be charged late fees by all sorts of businesses. Now they’re really in trouble.
A payday loan can be one way a desperate person chooses to get out of financial trouble.
Payday loans are short-term cash loans based on the borrower’s personal check held for future deposit or on electronic access to the borrower’s bank account. Borrowers write a personal check for the amount borrowed plus the finance charge and receive cash. In some cases, borrowers sign over electronic access to their bank accounts to receive and repay payday loans.
Payday loans range in size from $100 to $1,000, depending on state legal maximums. The average loan term is about two weeks. Loans typically cost 400% annual interest (APR) or more. The finance charge ranges from $15 to $30 to borrow $100. For two-week loans, these finance charges result in interest rates from 390 to 780% APR. Shorter term loans have even higher APRs. Rates are higher in states that do not cap the maximum cost.
CFPB found that 80 percent of payday borrowers tracked over ten months rolled over or reborrowed loans within 30 days. Borrowers default on one in five payday loans. Online borrowers fare worse. CFPB found that more than half of all online payday instalment loan sequences default. (source)
Now a bad situation has gotten even worse. You’re only getting a portion of your paycheck which means that you’re not going to be able to meet future bills. You’re going to face more late fees, more NSF charges, and more overdraft interest.
If you’ve ever wondered why broke people tend to stay broke, this is why. Unless the person in financial trouble gets some kind of windfall, they’re going to have great difficulty getting back on their feet. In many cases, it’s impossible.
And that isn’t the only bad part of the war on the poor. Homelessness has been practically criminalized. Here are some examples of how poor or homeless people can get in trouble with the law.
The criminalization of homelessness refers to measures that prohibit life-sustaining activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and/or asking for money/resources in public spaces. These ordinances include criminal penalties for violations of these acts.
There are multiple types of criminalization measures which include:
Of course, not all people financially struggling are out on the streets. Many are quietly struggling in middle-class neighborhoods, in nice homes, driving a late-model car. If they’re upside down in their mortgage or car loan, selling those items is not an option because then they’ll still be making the payments but be without a way to get to work or a place to live.
If they file for bankruptcy, good luck to them getting a cheap place to reside.
Things get harder.
You may already be in financial trouble, or you may just be in a situation with no emergency fund. If that’s the case, you should know that it only takes something small to send you straight to financial disaster.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of poverty.
Know that you aren’t alone if you’re facing these kinds of problems. Many people in our country are deeply in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to pay for basic necessities like food, rent, and medical bills.
Don’t look for things to become more affordable or for your paycheck to magically increase. That’s not the direction we’re going in America. Your only options are to reduce your expenses, eat cheaper food, and bring in some extra cash. If you get a windfall, use it wisely to build a financial cushion.
The American poverty trap keeps poor people poor. And it’s easier to fall into than you think.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com.Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.