Jan 6, 2010

Dirty sexy money

Let's talk about something dirty. Something private. Something very very uncomfortable to discuss for a good amount of people but extremely important to quite a few.
Something the governemt wants to control, sometimes for the good, sometimes now, something more and more entities think they have the right to know everything about you.

Not sex. Money.

The other day I heard a story I found truly, horribly offensive: A friend was telling me that her boyfriend was rejected from a job because of his credit.

This. had. me. floored.

Since I heard this I have been hashing about in my head the reasons your employer should even KNOW what your credit score is. I know, I know it's a reflection of your ability to be responsible, or, atleast, fiscally responsible.
But aren't your references, your job history, your arrest background and presentation also a representation. And yes, I understand wanting to know if someone was in dire straights if they...say, had access and control to a good deal of funds.
But this person was, for all extensive purposes, a social worker. The most he would probably have had access to was a gas reimbursement fund. Something that most likely would have required receipts.

And I hear about landlords checking your credit thoroughly. And again, I understand: they want to know if can afford that apartment. You know what shows them that? Your pay stub. And I can even understand if they want to know your debt ratio. But the details. Every dirty things that can and will go wrong? No, I don't understand that.

And then I think about this: your credit isn't affected just by your inability to pay debt, it's affected by your abililty to use credit. IE> you can only have so good a credit score without borrowing. You can only have so good a credit score without earing alot of money or juggling ongoing debt.
I think about this: you are a school teacher who never uses a credit card and buys only what they need and has a used car from 1985 and makes their mortgage on time...you credit...not as good as someone who makes a bit more, lives beyond their means, runs up their credit cards, has a car loan and manages to make their payments on time.

But this isn't just about credit. and credit reporting. A subject I could go on for days about. This is about money. And the increasingly pervasive tendency for everyone and everyone to be able to examine how we use and abuse it. For any given reason. To judge, to judge.

And it also strikes me, if you get rejected from a job because of your finances, as an increasing trap. You have too much debt? GUESS YOU WONT BE PAYING THAT OFF WITH YOUR NEW PAYCHECK.

But in the end it all strikes me as creepy, and the closest we yet come to a big brother mentality in this world.
They don't care what you believe politically and religiously. No. They care what you spend and what you don't spend. Because that is where the real power is.

And it's ironic. So ...modern. Because there was a time when it was innapropriate to even speculate what someone else made. There was a time when it was gauche to ask what something costs. There was a time when you showed up with cash and people took and they gave you something you owned, no questions asked. There was a time when you showed up for a job interview in a decent suit with a letter of recommendation and people were...impressed.

And there was a time when you were allowed, within certain legal parameters, to make a mistake.

Today I opened up a news article and it claimed that a good credit score used to be 620 and now it's something like 700, with boosts for every 20 points. The first line of the article noted "new credit rating standards has peopel who once took pride in their spending habits speaking to financial experts on how to boost their ratings."
This, on every level, violates me.

Because the last thing I want to do is get a job, earn a wage, pay my bills and live my life happily, only to find I am somehow failing because I did not juggle my loans incorrectly or take out the right car loan. The last thing I want to do find out is that someone who has taken on their parents debt can not get a job because his debt to income ratio is undesirable.

And why? Because this is how they control you, how they make you spend, how they make you repentant, for things you should never even have to consider. This is how they turn you into a little piece of plastic and not a human being.

1 comment:

cordelia said...

Ugh. I was going somewhere with that, but I don't think I really need to.

In an unrelated story, my verification word is 'for it'. I am certainly not.