"A scathing, important book"
-Joe Nocera, The New York Times
"[a] superb expose of the 'poverty business'"
– Publishers Weekly
BROKE, USA is my report from the economic fringes. In the two years I spent researching the poverty industry, I ventured to Las Vegas to hang out at the annual check cashers convention, I spent time in Tennessee with the small-town debt collector who founded the $40-billion-a-year payday cash advance industry, I met with a number of mercenary entrepreneurs who are getting tens of millions of dollars rich selling high-priced products to the country's hardworking waitresses, warehouse workers, and mall clerks.
"[a] blistering new investigation of the subprime economy"
-James Surowiecki, The New Yorker
"Vital reading for those seeking to deepen their understanding of the economic crash."
- Dan Scheraga, Associated Press
By telling the story of the rise of the poverty business – an industry that today is larger than the casino industry – I chronicle the early roots of the subprime meltdown and explore any number of other brilliant, if not diabolically brilliant, ways businesses have devised to grow very, very rich off those with decidedly thin wallets. I also tell of a few of the more committed souls fighting back against the major corporations, chain franchises, and newly-hatched enterprises that grow fat with profits at the expense of the working poor.
"Mr. Rivlin brings to his subject a genuine gift for storytelling."
- Katherine Mangu-Ward, The Wall Street Journal
"Rivlin opens up, dissects, and eviscerates the gigantic industry of vulture finance....fascinating."
-Dan Okrent, Fortune
"Rivlin's book is a must-read. It's a riveting piece of work by a first-rate writer."
- Don McNay, The Huffington Post