If you have bad credit history and are unemployed, you might be staying that way for a while.
A March 24 New York Times editorial board column states, “Research has shown that someone with a poor credit history is not automatically a poor job prospect. Nevertheless, millions of Americans who have emerged from the recession with medical debts or a record of late payments are at risk of being denied jobs by companies that use credit histories to screen applicants.”
There’s a lovely catch-22. If you’re unemployed because of bad credit, it’s going to be harder for you to get a job to pay off debt and improve your credit rating. Now, I’m not an economist, but
that seems like a recipe for bad things.
Getting out of debt can be extremely difficult, and dealing with a poor credit rating and history is infuriating, mind numbing and greatly affecting the quality of life for many people. Hindering the process of pulling oneself out of debt and poverty will only make it worse. The repercussions could have severe ramifications on
not only individuals, but the American economy.
Some states have realized this and have worked out legislation that makes employment rejection based solely on poor credit difficult or impossible. There is no federal oversight, though, and the state oversight is not complete.
Short of everyone selling shrimp out of the back of their vans to make up for lack of a job, something will have to be done to stop this catch-22. Federal oversight would be a nice idea, but is unlikely to become reality in the wake of Congress being a bunch of incompetent monkeys who are incapable of agreeing on any sort of economic reform.
But state reform isn’t out of the question. If enough states do something to solve this problem, perhaps the federal government will pay attention to the issue and do something to keep the states in line, or let it pass as a token acknowledgement of state’s rights.
Either way, something must be done. Such a quandary is dangerous for the economy and the nation, but more importantly, it damages people’s lives. Reform on some level needs to be enacted to prevent such economic and social damage.
Poor credit is already damaging enough. It affects one’s ability to get credit, to get a house or car. In short, the ability to live a successful life and maintain a stable family is devastated because of youthful irresponsibility, lifelong poverty, lack of financial knowledge or overwhelming medical bills. Making it difficult for a person to improve his credit history by allowing employers to check his credit rating in the hiring process only makes the situation worse.
Whether at the state or federal level, reform must be enacted to give Americans a fighting chance to improve their credit. Barring an otherwise-qualified candidate from a job because of her credit score is a bad economic decision, and it’s a bad humanitarian decision.