California Eliminates Money Bail

Here’s a good example of removing a structural barrier from the paths of low-income individuals by addressing an exploitative practice at the policy level. Recently Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to eliminate cash bail in California. The change aims to treat both rich and poor fairly by eliminating a practice (widespread throughout the country) that often relegates poor individuals to what is essentially a debtor’s prison, separating them from their families and their livelihoods although they represent no threat to society.

 

Going Postal to Kill Payday Lenders

With the rising cost of housing and the stagnation of wages, many low-income workers depend on payday loans to make ends meet — at an average annualized interest rate of 390 percent. Now, a Democratic senator has proposed an alternative: low-cost banking through the postal system. It’s an idea that can be implemented without any great administrative difficulties, policy-design challenges or start-up costs, and will benefit not only low-income workers, but also the U.S. Postal Service itself. And there is little reason why it should not have bipartisan support. This is a great example of a policy change that addresses a huge problem for the poor, and it’s legislation we’ll all want to follow. To read all about it, click here.