THE TRUE COST of lack of access to credit extends far beyond the inability to finance additional consumption in the short term. Being in a position without credit quite often leads to individuals finding themselves in a financial spiral marked by a cascading effect of punitive fees, high interest rates, and mounting debt burdens. All of which bury individuals even further away from financial freedom and inhibits their ability to accumulate any level of substantive long-term wealth.

These insidious financial traps are brought into existence, enabled, and ultimately reinforced by the extremely inegalitarian distribution of wealth and income in the United States, inequalities of which are on the precipice of reaching the historical highs last seen in 1929 on the eve of the Great Depression. Current inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth are all too reminiscent of the extreme disparities and unprecedented accumulation of wealth on the part of the industrialists and financiers that defined the Gilded Age at the end of the nineteenth century on into the turn of the twentieth century.

Socioeconomic inequalities are secured within, and reproduced across, generations by capital and financial resources that are distributed inequitably across class, race, and gender. Not only does this inequitable distribution of, and access to, capital lead to debt spirals and poverty traps that make day-to-day life an anxious and precarious affair for the bottom half of the population, and increasingly for the middle-class as well, but it also shuts off access to the fundamental gateways necessary to increase earnings, accumulate wealth, and improve physical, material, and mental well-being in the long run.

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