It’s that time again. Time to put the opponents of Payday Lending into the clown dunk tank and wing a few balls at the target. No apologies if I accidentally hit one of these twits in the face.
First up, the AP reported that the Center for Responsible Lending — the corrupt PR front for the equally corrupt Self Help Foundation — spent $140,000 lobbying for a variety of legislation and regulation. Naturally, all of the things they support are designed to drive consumers to the Self-Help Credit Union, so they can be stripped of their wealth via onerous overdraft fees.
Curiously, the AP report simply states facts and doesn’t attack the CRL the way it deserves. Yet, when payday lenders spend money on lobbyists, the media considers it insidious and duplicitous, as if lobbyists are somehow there to mislead and to donate money to politicians.
I’ve got news for the media. Lobbyists don’t make donations. They are there, in the capitol lobby, to give voice to a group who has an interest in a specific issue. Lobbyists exist to educate politicians.
KER-SPLASH. One clown down.
Oh, send in the clowns! A bevy of them known as the Wausau Daily Herald editorial board has just entered, with their big floppy shoes, blaring horns, and big red noses. In just a few short paragraphs of their Aug. 12 editorial, the clowns makes two-faced politicians look decisive. They accurately state that a 36% APR rate cap would put PDLs out of business, that the APR is not a fair way to judge the product, that its unfair that other lending institutions wouldn’t be affected by Gordon “Job Killer’ Hintz’s rate cap bill, and that the industry spending money on lobbyists is part of democracy and not sinister. Good.
But then, they insist that PDLs “take advantage of the financially stressed”, which has been repeatedly debunked. They say that the bill “would end predatory lending while allowing credit unions and other financial institutions to supply short-term loans are responsible rates.
Uh, hello, Cheeseheads? Because WI is unregulated in the lending arena, those institutions already can make those loans at “responsible rates” (which, by the way, is left undefined). The fact that Wisconsin residents have repeatedly voted with their feet to use PDLs means they prefer them over these other options!
Then the Herald announces that capping rates is a “positive step towards enhancing Wisconsin consumer protections” — contradicting the fact that a rate cap kills PDLs. And of course, they make a fallacious argument — that the people using PDLs are “getting a bad deal” and that “the fact that there are other bad deals is hardly an affirmative argument for payday lenders”.
Uh, hello, Cheeseheads? The fact that payday loans are cheaper than some other forms of short-term credit and/or don’t carry the risks that other deals do is an affirmative argument.
Then we have the Oshkosh Northwestern Jesters! Come on in, the water’s fine! This editorial board announces that the industry has crafted “carefully worded talking points to try and refute the arguments supporting Job Killer Hintz’s bill”. What? Carefully worded talking points? You mean — GASP — common sense arguments against a bill designed to kill 3,462 Wisconsin jobs, suck $135 million in labor income out of those jobs, wipe out $214 million in Gross State Product, and deprive Wisconsin of $59 million in state tax revenue! Oh my God! Logic and reason? The use of actual facts to educate legislators through the use of lobbyists???
KER-SPLASH! Sorry about that, guys! I thought you could swim. Osh-Kosh B’Gosh!
I’d spend time on Mike Lux, another dunce over at the Huff and Puff Post, as he babbles on using the usual pejorative references to payday lenders — but since he’s just a mercenary political “strategist”, why bother? He probably hasn’t taken the time to even understand payday loans, since he’s just hired to bash the product without needing to understand why.
KER-SPLASH! Don’t look so confused, Mike! You put the clown make-up on, you get taken for a clown.
Mitch Lipka at Walletpop.com gives all bloggers a bad name by writing about the demise of PDLs in Arkansas and quoting only the opponents. Thanks for the balance, Mitch. Lisa Kaiser at Express Milwaukee clambers into the dunk tank as well. She shows astonishing naivete that somehow an entity that calls itself The Center for Responsible Lending must be altruistic. Honestly, do journalists even research their stories anymore?
KER-SPLASH and KER-SPLASH. They make a nice couple.
Finally, we have Laura Northrup at the Consumerist blog. Now I like the Consumerist, because they generally look out for all of us. But I’ve already had to embarrass Sam “Crybaby” Glover and Ben Plopken for their articles bashing PDLs, and not even defending their position when challenged. Northrup makes fun of Advance America’s offer to any customer who has a payday loan with them and should lose their job. Advance America waives the interest on that loan, yet Northrup still rails against them.
Question for ya, Laura! How many other lenders are allowing you to forego all interest payments on a loan if you lose your job?
Yeah, I thought so.