Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beware of the Trap – Falling Behind on Bills Can Make it Tougher to Find Work

So says Tiffany Hsu in her article that appeared in the Business Section the Sunday, June 7, 2009 Los Angeles Times. Ms. Hsu reported that an increasing number of employers perform personal credit checks as part of the employment background check to evaluate the worthiness of a candidate’s qualifications. If the candidate’s credit history is bad, this typically implies that the candidate cannot be “trusted, is unreliable, or is undisciplined.”

While this case may be true in some rare instances, it cannot be applied to millions of Americans who are now being displaced by companies laying off their employees. Unfortunately, society does not blame companies for the individual’s inability to pay his or her bills. They still place the burden of paying bills upon the displaced individual regardless of the reason. In today’s economic environment, once a person loses their job, he or she often falls into a serious trap. Months, even years, may pass without out any success in finding suitable employment, yet the bills continue to pile up. Credit scores plumet, and one’s history is forever marked as bad the credit companies databases. As one fails to pay their bills on time, their score continues to fall even. Not only is credit harder to come by, but a job is also harder to get – yet, it is all your fault because you couldn’t pay your bills in a timely manner. Never mind the fact that you once had a pristine history of paying your bills on time, or that you may even have paid more than the minimum balance when times were good.

Welcome to the pit! Government is not listening to your concerns. Politicians could care less about your problem although there are millions of others just like you in a similar situation. I pity your unfortunate circumstances for I too have been there. Society makes it practically impossible for someone to return to a normal lifestyle – or what we used to consider as “normal.” Corporations could care less about your circumstance either. They are the ones who influenced government to write the laws to maintain databases and records against you that will reflect the fact that you can’t make payments on your bills. If government was for you, there would be a sunset clause in these laws making it easier for you to recover from your misfortunes. Not the case here! Once you’re down, society likes to keep you down, forever! This truly is not a benevolent society.

But by not changing these practices, the government has quite possibly shot itself in the foot. We hear that the Obama Administration wants to put people back to work by creating more high tech and green jobs. However, if they continue to permit employers to use credit histories as part of employment screenings, millions of jobs will go unfilled as more and more potential job seekers have bad credit. And, if the government expects to create more jobs for millions of displaced workers, then it is going to have to abandon old practices that will only hinder the return of qualified talented employees just because they were not able to pay their bills on time and therefore have a bad credit history.

The word and will of the people speak louder than corporations. If the people demand work, then we must speak up and let our will be known in the halls of Congress and to the White House. We must demand that unfair business practices be outlawed so that millions of people can return to work, be productive once again, and live prosperously in America. That an individual’s right to earn a respectable living should be guaranteed by the Constitution on the United States and any record kept against any individual infringing on that right be declared unconstitutional and be immediately sealed.

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