Permissible Plunder: Legalized Exploitation of the Vulnerable

First, I want you to read this passage about unhoused people in Montana:

“I can’t tell you how many calls I got from folks that were older, like older than 55 or 60, that had lived in their same house for decades, had the same owner for decades who never raised the rent,” [HRDC Emergency Shelter Services Manager Jenna] Huey said. “Then all of a sudden they lost their housing.” Huey and other providers across the state have heard countless stories of homeowners turning their rental property into Air-BnBs or evicting their long-term tenants in order to house their own children in increasingly affluent communities.

The Missoulan

I understand that this would be legal. I even understand — though I disagree with completely — the capitalistic justification for kicking out tenants so you can make more money from using the property as an AirBnB.

So here is my question:

How do these people still exist in society? How are they not universally shunned?

Sure, the behavior’s legal. So is publishing the names of these horrific people — including all executives of the companies doing this on an industrial scale — in the newspaper. So is refusing them service at every restaurant. So is refusing to speak to them at events. So is refusing their campaign contributions, their tithes, their children’s fundraisers.

Pick your legal scam — hospitals profiting off programs to help those in poverty, Brett Favre siphoning off welfare money, oil executives knowing full well about climate change forty years ago. All of these times where people were robbed of money and resources they needed to survive by those who already had so much, and all for just some extra profit.

How are the perpetrators of any of these schemes robbing from the poor to make themselves even richer able to show their faces in public? To not be shunned?

I do not ask how they are able to do it without shame.

I’m asking why we — you, me, and everyone else — are letting them get away with it.

Featured Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash