For Ocasio-Cortez, the hot takes are endless. If she’s not being accused of secretly being rich, she’s being mocked for discussing the high relocation costs associated with moving to D.C. If people aren’t alleging that pictures of her feet are circulating the internet (they’re not), they’re debating whether or not it’s appropriate that the now-freshman Congresswoman once danced in a university video. She’s criticized for not smiling enough during Donald Trump’ s State of the Union address. Basically, because she’s a woman who dares to exist, she can’t win.
This credit debacle touches on an important and under-discussed issue that applies more broadly than to just our representatives, however. We know the rumors about her credit score and evictions are just that: rumors. But for many people in the US, having a poor credit score or a history of evictions is a reality.
More than half of Americans have “subprime” credit scores. Millions of Americans are evicted from their homes every year (including children), and this happens in both places with a high cost of living and comparatively “affordable” locations.
Credit scores can impact how much you pay in utilities, your chances of being approved for a lease, or how much you pay in car insurance. What this comes down to is that if you’re living (or lived) in poverty, other aspects of your life quickly become more expensive, too, making it all the harder to save. It’s hard to get ahead when something like a credit report or rental history are pretty much required, but also deeply stigmatized in favor of the wealthy.
In a time when 40 percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency expense, it feels especially cruel and hateful to mock people who may have a history that reflects a lack of financial freedom. A low credit score doesn’t make someone a bad person, nor does it speak to their ability to be a good or reliable employee, renter, or representative. Shaming low-income people has to finally, finally come to an end.