A message from our Founder
It’s expensive to be poor, and unfortunately it can be profitable to exploit poverty. In our market-driven economy some demand ties directly to people’s limited options. Living paycheck to paycheck? Find cash for emergencies with a 450%-interest payday or auto title loan. No work experience or references? Get a job through a labor broker at minimum wage, minus charges for everything from gloves, boots, tools and a ride. Sending money to a loved one in prison? That’ll cost you extra for the only designated finance company to process and deposit.
Those of us who have worked on economic justice issues, and especially those of us who have lived in poverty, know all too well that the high cost of poverty sometimes stems from the high profits extracted from the impoverished. The Center for Economic Integrity seeks to challenge that dynamic. We do so through public policy and regulatory campaigns (like capping interest rates at that age-old 36% anti-usury level) and through direct market intervention (like shareholder activism or starting social enterprises as alternatives to profiteering industries).
Since 2002 we have partnered with faith communities, labor unions, responsible businesses, economic justice advocates and many more. And during our first decade we have succeeded. We have helped create systemic change that puts money back into poor people’s pockets. The first decade has been an extraordinary, as will the next. Please join CEI to challenge the high price of poverty.