Life and debt as a young writer in New York.Meghan Daum on the Longform Podcast
Racial discrimination and the collection of small consumer debts.
Deep in debt, a man makes a large racetrack wager and recalls his history of gambling.
"I lean in to the betting window and tell her I want a grand on my horse. She looks shocked at first. She knows it’s a bet I shouldn’t be making, a bet I can’t afford, but she doesn’t know I’m running out of options. If I can’t come up with some serious cash soon, my number’s up. She types in some information but it seems to take her longer than usual."
In Harpersville, Alabama, a traffic violation can lead to months in jail and a never-ending stint in a work-release program – what some refer to as a modern-day debtors’ prison.
“The dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal – the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008.”
On working in a war zone to pay the bills.