Sunday, February 05, 2017

How unpaid tickets trap poor workers in cycle of poverty

By SJ Otto
I have to thank The Wichita Eagle for putting out a piece that actually exposes abuse by our corporate rulers who seem to relish seeing poor people suffer....just  for being poor. In this case the poor get a traffic ticket. Then they have trouble paying it. Eventually they lose their license and can no longer legally drive. Now they can't legally drive to work. They lose more money. They end up driving their cars anyway because they need to see a doctor, go to work or get things they need from the store. Eventually they are caught and they are put in jail. And the fines just keep piling up. Before long these poor people owe as much as the make in a year. And it just keeps getting worse from there.
Picking on poor people seems to be a pass-time for wealthier Republican politicians who seem to treat being poor as a crime. Just as when drowning a person, we don't let them up for a single breath of air. It just delays the dying and prolongs a miserable life. In Kansas most poor people know how much they are despised. The wealthy political establishment fights against raising the minimum wage, which has been frozen for years. Here in Kansas none of these people can get health care, through Medicaid since our Governor, Sam Brownback has prevented Medicaid expansion and sees to it that many of these people die from preventable disease. Over the last six years, our Tea Party legislatures have gotten rid of any government program that benefits poor workers...and that includes a small government stipend that used to be issued to burry people after they die.
As always, our corporate elites keeping poor workers going from pay day to pay day, and any thing that goes wrong traps them in poverty and creates a massive dependence on what ever lousy job they are stuck with.
The following article gives the details or the process.  

Larry Merriweather says he lost his driver’s license after a downturn in the economy in 2008 made it difficult for him to pay a traffic fine. Since then, he has racked up around $8,000 in tickets and fees, many for driving on a suspended license. -Oliver Morrison The Wichita Eagle

Larry Merriweather runs a small business from Wichita in which he strips and waxes the floors of stores across Kansas.
In 2008, when the recession hit, he said his income fell from $63,000 to $21,000 in one year. As a result, he couldn’t pay a speeding ticket, and his license was suspended.
He couldn’t stop working, so he said every time he got pulled over, he would get additional fines and penalties, including having to pay bail when he was jailed for driving on a suspended license. He’s never had a DUI and hasn’t been in any accidents, he said. Merriweather said he now owes about $8,000 in back fines.
“How can I make a living if I can’t get to my job?” Merriweather said. “I’m being treated like a criminal, and my crime is driving to work.”
As of November, more than 100,000 Kansans had their driver’s licenses suspended for not paying traffic tickets. That means there was about one suspended license for every 20 adults living in Kansas.
For the rest click here.

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