The Poverty Business

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Business Week magazine loves to write about American winners, about brilliant business strategies and American companies taking on the world.

This week, Business Week's cover story has a little different flavor. Its headline is "The Poverty Business," and it's all about American companies zealously targeting America's working poor as a new profit center - with sky-high interest rates and "gotcha" deals that no self-respecting middle class American would dream of taking.

The formula? Need plus desperation equals big, fat profits.

This hour On Point: How growing rich on the poor works.

Quotes from the Show:

"This is not just a business story but it is a business story." Keith Epstein

"One thing that's new is the size and the sophistication of the firms involved." Paul Barrett

"We have a business and political culture in this country where a predatory greed is seen as a high aim." Listener

"The real problem is that the financial system is not designed to serve them [low to moderate income families]. ... If you look at the legal disclosures, they are extremely complicated." Michael Barr


Paul Barrett, Assistant Managing Editor for BusinessWeek Magazine

Keith Epstein, Co-author of the May 21, 2007 cover story "The Poverty Business";
Steve Wedding, CFO and President of Franchising for J.D. Byrider.;
Michael Barr, Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

This program aired on May 17, 2007.


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