And the sharks are smelling blood in the water:
A bill that would bring back payday lending to North Carolina has attracted a powerful new co-sponsor: Senate Rules Committee chairman Tom Apodaca. The support of Apodaca, R-Hendersonville, added to the heavyweight lobbyists that the industry has retained, makes it a bill to be reckoned with.
And heading the pack of lobbyists is
Rep. Harold Brubaker, who must be dizzy from the speed of the revolving door. If you decide to sit in on any committee discussions or debates, you'd better roll up your pant-legs first, because the shit is getting deep already:
Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Republican from Archdale and the primary sponsor of the measure, says that it is first and foremost a jobs bill. “I’m trying to do something simple for everyday working people,” he said.
Tillman said the bill was requested by individual constituents who are struggling financially. “I’ve had people ask me,” said Tillman, “Why can’t we have another chance at (payday lending) and do it right? We have a need and can’t get the money.”
Good Lord. If you're going to lie about something, at least make it something marginally believable, like a 50 lb catfish story or an alien abduction.
Fictional encounters aside, there are some pretty strong historical and reality-based arguments against payday lending:
One common argument is that payday loans serve a group of people that can't get needed loans any other way. Shouldn't people be free to enter into contracts with one another, even if the terms seem outrageous to others? There are two problems with this argument. First, as a commenter pointed out, it can also be used to justify moral wrongs like slavery, too -- although slavery wasn't a perfect analogy. A better one would be "indentured servitude," where poor people would trade away their freedom for a period of years in return for a cash loan. Civilized countries decided that these agreements, although they were legal and enforceable contracts, were immoral and must be stopped.
This argument also ignores a critical fact: Big banks -- the same parties who have denied people more legitimate sources of credit -- are deeply embedded in the payday loan industry. Wells Fargo has funded more than one-third of all storefront lenders, Bank of America's a major shareholder in payday lender QC Holdings, and banks have been working with payday lenders to evade usury laws.
Banks force people into a financial squeeze where they have no other credit options by denying them traditional loans and credit cards, then profit from rapacious payday lenders who charge them rates that can approach 400% to 800% in annual interest. Payday loans don't help an "underserved population": they're part of an exploitative, interconnected system.
The Right's ideology when it comes to dealing with the issue of poverty is so full of holes it makes Swiss cheese jealous. They claim that the best way to fix the problem is to encourage poor people to save whatever they can to accumulate wealth. But the very best way for those on the bottom to generate wealth is to become a homeowner, but Republicans think that's a bad idea. But a loan which creates negative wealth, and requires all their potential economic growth energy just to keep the red from getting redder, is a great idea. And shredding the safety net is somehow healthy, even though it devastates the lives of those families affected.
One can only surmise from this logic that Republicans don't want the poor to be empowered, which hearkens back to the European monarchies of the 17th and 18th Centuries. 236 years of the Democratic experiment, and these are the resulting conclusions of the Republican Party. Some of us have learned nothing.
BlueNC is dedicated to making North Carolina a more progressive and prosperous state. If your intention is to disrupt this effort, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.