Kicking people when they’re down happens too often in this country.
Consider the requirement for credit checks on employment applications.
While I’m not surprised to see corporations like J.C Penney and Sears require credit checks on applicants, I was disappointed to discover that some health care providers in Vermont do as well.
The U.S. has been in a deep recession for years, with its accompanying high unemployment stagnant wages, small businesses closing, and people losing their homes and declaring bankruptcy.
Too often, politicians and others are quick to blame victims of this recession for their woes. They say the unemployed are lazy or “milking the system.” They say that those with financial woes were irresponsible with their money. They ignore the paucity of living wage jobs available, skyrocketing health care and education costs, while the average wages remain flat, outsourcing of good jobs, the collapse of the housing market. Then some employers create more obstacles for those trying to get back on their feet, including credit checks. They potentially penalize them further by denying them the opportunity for jobs.
There’s a bit of irony here. According to a 2009 American Journal of Medicine article, over 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies were due to medical problems. A Harvard study also found that a majority of bankruptcies related to health costs were actually among people with insurance. Meanwhile, around 50 million people lack any health insurance.
Little has been done nationally to address job discrimination through credit checks. Instead, there’s an astounding double-standard. You lost your job and can’t pay your mortgage? You don’t deserve to be considered for this job. You lost billions through unregulated bank gambling? Here’s a $10 million dollar severance package or a bonus.
I’d expect to find a little more fairness and empathy at the state and local level — especially from health care providers. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
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