South Carolina hospitals are using a loophole in state law to scoop millions of dollars a year from the pockets of the poorest of patients. It mostly takes place outside the courts and the public eye.
A law originally written to help state and local governments collect debts is being used to seize tax refunds from people with past-due medical bills. The S.C. Department of Revenue does the legwork, and the cash flows straight into the coffers of some of the region’s largest health care companies.
The payoff is huge.
“At the heart of Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told is the claim that the profits and accumulations of slavery contributed to the formation of contemporary capitalism. Like Beckert, he turns to the history of the cotton industry, though he focuses on the United States from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War. Yet if Beckert’s story is the world the slave owners made, Baptist’s is the world made by the slave. “Enslaved African Americans built the modern United States,” he declares, “and indeed the entire modern world, in ways both obvious and hidden.” We know the claim that enslaved African Americans built the modern United States is not new. This “half” has, in fact, been told—multiple times and more often than not by black writers, some of whom are fleetingly mentioned in Baptist’s footnotes. But the claim that African Americans built the world is simply wrong. Baptist’s book is marked by such rhetorical excesses, which lend themselves to a blinkered and narcissistic American exceptionalism. The result is an oversimplified view of capitalism and slavery that ignores the historical contributions to modernity of Africans in the Caribbean and in Africa itself.”
Simply stated, “poor people and people of color,” as well as its variants, imply that being poor is like being non-white. Now, if being poor is, in fact, like being non-white, then poor white people are like people of color. Significantly, if poor white people are like people of color, then the concept of white privilege becomes a bit misleading, if not altogether inaccurate. As Part II explains, white privilege refers to advantages that white people are supposed to receive by virtue of the fact that they are white. The concept presupposes that all white people–even the poor ones–have privileges on account of their race. However, if being poor is like being non-white, and if poor white people are like people of color, then it may not make sense to conceptualize poor white people as being privileged relative to people of color. If poor white people’s class disadvantage puts them in a social position that is similar to that occupied by people of color, then white privilege may not be something that they enjoy. Further, if white privilege is not enjoyed by poor white people, then it may make little sense to call it white privilege– inasmuch as white privilege implies that the privilege flows from being a member of the white race. It may make more sense to admit the error involved in the concept of white privilege and come up with a different concept altogether–something like affluent white people’s privilege or white class privilege.
The deep and persistent racial wealth divide will not close without bold, structural reform. It has been created and held in place by public policies that have evolved with time including slavery, Jim Crow, red lining, mass incarceration, among many others. The racial wealth divide is greater today than it was nearly four decades ago and trends point to its continued widening.
All sorts of bad things happen when bankruptcy is out of reach for people, as we showed in a series of stories. People turn to unscrupulous operators who file phony bankruptcy cases, as happens often in Los Angeles. Particularly in the South, they turn to a form of bankruptcy that features a payment plan and that often ends in failure, leaving debtors worse off than when they filed. (African Americans are especially prone to that problem.) And finally, many people don’t file at all — and just hope that a debt collector doesn’t seize their wages.
Rodney K. Stanberry- Innocent and Incarcerated for 20 Years
Rodney K. Stanberry spent 20 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. He received three 20 year sentences to be served concurrently for burglary, attempted murder, and robbery. He was arrested in 1992, convicted in 1995 and began serving a prison sentence in 1997. He left prison on March 13th, 2017. Like Thompson, like Williams and Myers, like Michael Morton, like so many others, his case should have been an open and shut case. The prosecutor had a confession from another individual who was actually present when the crimes took place. The individual who confessed did so BEFORE Rodney’s trial. He had one of the best attorneys in Mobile, AL as his attorney and his attorney told the prosecutor that he would tell him everything. Why would he do this? Because the person who confessed thought the prosecutor was actually interested in arresting and convicting the actual culprits. He knew an eyewitness on the ground saw him as he was exiting the victim’s home. He thought he was caught. He, the person who actually was one of the two people present when the victim was brutally shot, got a firsthand view of how prosecutors will let the guilty go free in order to convict the innocent. And less he thought it was just one prosecutor, Joe Carl Buzz Jordan, he would discover that on Rodney’s appeal, another prosecutor also with the Mobile District Attorney’s Office would go out of her way to ensure that he did not say in court what she knew he would say. So she said if you talk, you are going to get life. She did not want him to go on record to tell the truth, for that would mean that the record further reflected that the Mobile District Attorney’s Office convicted an innocent man. Upholding the conviction should not be more important than letting an innocent man out of prison. http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/tierny_redo.9113550.pdf)