Some financial penalties make so little sense it’s ALMOST hilarious

This one time…

1. I overdrafted my checking account on $3.50 at Taco Bell and was hit with a $32 fee from BofA. That’s right, a taco and a burrito cost me $35. Thanks, Bank.

2. I got a $20 ticket for driving Nick’s car with expired registration. At the time, I had already paid $1300 to renew his registration, but we were in arbitration with Fastrak, which claimed we owed them another $2000 in missed tolls (uh, no). By the time this dispute was resolved — in our favor — five months had elapsed, which meant the deadline for fixing the registration was lapsed. This meant my $20 ticket went up to $3000, with expected monthly payments of $400. I can’t afford these payments. If I don’t make them, my license will get revoked. If my license gets revoked, I can’t get to work (legally). If I can’t get to work, I lose my job. If I lose my job, I have even less money.

To sum up this Kafka-esque Catch-22: if you have slightly too little money, you get slapped with a 1000% increase in your fee, and if you now can’t pay that fee, you lose your ability to keep your job, which means…how does the state get its money now?????

Doesn’t make too much sense, eh? If, at the end of the day, the state wants to penalize irresponsibility, fine, I’m down with that. However, if the reason why someone can’t pay something is because she doesn’t have the money, how does it make any sense to up the cost 1000%?

In a similar note:
1. Bob spends too much on his credit card
2. Bob tries to pay it off
3. Bob runs a balance each month
4. Bob loses his job and can pay less on his balance each month
5. Because Bob is keeping a higher balance, his credit score goes down
5. Because Bob’s credit score decreases, his interest rate INCREASES
6. Bob’s balance increases MORE
7. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have a full-time, salaried job (40-65 hours/week) with benefits and am the best in the state within my company. I have now taken on a second job to supplement this salary. All I know is that I spend less than 15% of my income on eating out, clothes, toiletries, whatever — that leaves 85% for debts, rent, food, utilities, and gas. If I can’t make it, how the hell could anyone else who has a modicum of debt?
At the end of the day, the poorest 10% in America pay 90% of America’s overdraft fees.  (True, not hyperbole.)  Fuck you, banks!

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