Poverty is very expensive. Because of the flat rates for most goods and services (personally, I’ve long thought that we should all have a card where our gross yearly income is scanned and prices are then a percentage of your income, not a flat rate for all), the damage poor credit or lacking a bank account does to your finances, and the inability to purchase necessary items, there’s a huge industry in exploiting the poor. The most notorious of these businesses is payday loans shops. But there’s a lot more. Lindsay Beyerstein points us to this great LA Times piece by Richard Bensinger on tire rental shops that serve the poor who need car tires to get to work in the city. Renting tires means that a couple featured in the article paid $962 with all fees and interest for a set of radial tires that should have cost around $300. The industry uses tough payment or repossess tactics and is just generally incredibly exploitative. These sort of industries should be tightly regulated, yet they essentially can do whatever they want in many states.