Who We Are
How You Can Help
Insurance Credit Scoring
1701A S. 2nd Street
Austin TX 78704
(512) 912 1327
(Fax) 912 1375
CEJ is a non-profit organization that works to increase the availability, affordability and accessibility of insurance, credit, utilities, and other economic goods and services for low-income and minority consumers. Through research, education and advocacy, we are dedicated to:
CEJ represents the interests of low-income and minority consumers as a class on economic justice issues, primarily through administrative advocacy. Our focus is on the availability and affordability of insurance, credit and utilities, goods and services that are appropriately the subject of regulation. As welfare reform progresses, more and more people are pushed into the low wage corridor, and it is important that regulatory agencies set policies that work for, not against, these low-wage earners.
These goods and services are the tools necessary to participate in our society. The government’s recent insistence that the poor pull themselves out of poverty makes the availability of these goods and services more critical today. Rather than provide direct services to the poor, CEJ addresses the root causes of poverty. One of the important root causes is the lack of available and affordable tools on which the rest of us rely – tools like insurance, credit and utility service.
Insurance, for instance, is necessary both to participate in our society and to pull individuals and communities out of poverty. Consumers may not operate a car or obtain a car loan without auto insurance. Consumers unable to purchase homeowners insurance are unable to obtain a loan to purchase a home. And the lack of health insurance means that one illness can deplete savings, render families penniless, and condemn families to poverty. In addition to the harm caused to individuals, denying insurance to citizens and small businesses in economically underdeveloped areas contributes to the problems of inadequate economic opportunity and social decay that plague these areas. Insurance is necessary in the fight against poverty.
CEJ’s premise is that dramatic and long-lasting results can be accomplished through administrative agencies. The inequitable distribution of essential goods and services is caused by a lack of political and economic power that is institutionalized and exacerbated through the action of regulatory agencies. Administrative advocacy provides the potential for the most dramatic and long-lasting results because agencies determine the rates that will be charged for many basic necessities and the rules of access to those necessities.
Regulated industries spend enormous amounts of money and resources to affect the outcome of agency decisions. They doggedly lobby the decision-makers, hire multiple law firms to litigate their issues, and offer the only future employment opportunity for most regulators and agency staff members. Regulated industries spare no expense in bringing their economic and political power to bear on agency decisions.
Consumers, on the other hand, have virtually no representation in these matters. The amount of money at stake for individual consumers does not justify the expense of participating in the proceeding. This imbalance of power is even more acute for minorities and the poor. Although agency decision-makers feel political pressure not to harm the general body of consumers, they feel no political pressure from low-income consumers. CEJ has successfully ensured that regulators not only recognize the interests of low income and minority consumers, but act to further those interests.