I read an article in the business section of one of the local papers the other day which described the way people who have the money can “buy” good credit for themselves. The story was about a real estate mortgage broker in Florida who wanted to buy a $400,000 house but could not qualify for a low-interest mortgage because he had a few dings on his credit. The solution to his problem was to pay a credit broker $1,800 to add him as an “authorized user” on credit cards belonging to persons with stellar credit. This way, the stellar payment history would show up on his credit report, boosting his credit rating so that he could qualify for the mortgage loan he wanted. Evidently, it costs $900 to buy a spot as an “authorized user” on one card, and more for each additional card. There is no risk to the person with the stellar credit, because his actual account number and personal information is kept private and there is no way the buyer can use any of the credit cards; however, all of the buyer’s information is made available to the person selling his credit.
Evidently the brokering of credit histories is such a booming business, people with good credit have been able to retire and live on what they earn selling their FICO score.
Then, I was going to blog about an article I read in which two doctors reported having received death threats for objecting to the FDA approving a new drug for prostate cancer. The doctors said they were concerned that the drug was not safe and the impression I got was that they were being harrassed by thugs paid by the pharmaceutical industry. Wow, thought I! What a story about patriarchal medicine and Big Pharm!
Upon further investigation I learned that (1) neither of the doctors had actually provided evidence of the death threats; (2) one of the doctors was heavily invested in research and production of a competing drug.
So much of this kind of fraud, dishonesty, and scamming of the system goes on every day. It’s the reason the rich stay rich, the powerful stay powerful, those on top, stay on top. When poor people engage in the “borrowing” of credit, it is called “identity theft.” If they had had some money, they could have bought it and it would not be criminal at all. When poor or marginalized people threaten one another over money or valuables, it is called “racketeering” or they are imprisoned as gangland criminals. When doctors do it, they’re just playing hardball.