Rep. Dexter, I had a high school math teacher who would occasionally tell a student he was being “stupid”, but he was always quick to remind us that the word actually means ‘intellectually lazy” and merely represented a temporary state of being.

I really hope your position on payday loans is just because you are stupid, and not because you are a sucker who has fallen into the litany of rubbish perpetuated by Rep. Gordon “Job Killer’ Hintz.

Your op-ed in the September 25 Leader-Telegram demonstrated your stupidity. I’m going to walk you through, step-by-step, the multitude of things you wrote that are just plain wrong. Hopefully, you’ll be shaken out of your stupor and realize that you are being played.

You open your piece with a heartfelt story about a father bailing his daughter out of an auto title loan. What you fail to grasp about the transaction is that the daughter is the one responsible for taking out this loan in the first place, and that if she wasn’t absolutely certain she could make the payments, then she never should have taken the loan out.

It is no more the auto title lender’s job to read that young woman’s mind as to whether she could pay off the loan than it is for a liquor salesman to know if his customer is an alcoholic.

“Hearing how easy it was for a person to find themselves caught in this scenario” does NOT “emphasize that our system of payday and auto title lending needs reform”. It emphasizes that borrowers need to better educate themselves about the risks in borrowing money one cannot pay back”.

You said, “With more Wisconsinites out of work now than at any time in the past two decades…predatory payday lenders have more opportunities than ever before to take advantage of cash-strapped families, offering them short-term loans at unconscionably high interest rates.”

Rep. Dexter, you cannot get a payday loan if you are unemployed. You must have a job.

As for the interest rates, I’ve been through this.

“These loans are much more expensive than other cash loans…”

False. These loans are in the middle of stack with regard to expense. Overdraft fees, for example, are three times more expensive.

“…and 75 percent of Wisconsin borrowers cannot afford to repay such loans when they are due.”

Oh, dear. You have been listening to Job Killer Hintz, haven’t you? You know, Rep. Dexter, if you just opened up the 10-K SEC Filings of any public payday loan company, you’d see that 94% of all loans are paid back on time.

“This cycle is often called the “debt trap” because the loans are designed to snare families in a downward spiral of debt from which they cannot escape.”

This is a long-perpetuated myth that has no basis in fact. Loans are designed to be repaid on a person’s next paycheck.

USE YOUR BRAIN
— if loans were designed to NOT be paid back, how long do you think the industry would last? If Job Killer Hintz’s 75% figure were true, then 3 out of every 4 customers would be taken advantage of and….then what? Return for more? No! They’d run for the hills because they got screwed! The industry wouldn’t have lasted for 20 years because it would have chewed up and spit out all possible customers.

But that hasn’t happened, has it?

Payday loan customers actually return to take out new payday loans after paying off other ones. Could it be that’s because they are — GASP — satisfied? That they actually know what they are doing? That Cypress Research’s survey that showed 77% of customers were satisfied is right?

USE YOUR BRAIN. Let’s try some math. If a Wisconsin PDL charges $20 for a $100 loan, then a person would have to rollover a loan six times in order to generate $20 in profit, since they would eventually default on the $100 principal. And, in fact, it would have to be rolled over seven times because overhead eats up that that $20 in profit.

Yet, 94% of all loans are paid off on time. It’s right there in the SEC filings — and Sarbanes-Oxley has made CEO’s darn certain to report their data truthfully.

So who do you think is lying? The CEO’s who have everything to lose, or Job Killer Hintz, who is bucking for the Speakership and is a grandstanding hack?

And please, don’t drag out the “study” from the Center for Responsible Lending. How many times must I discredit them?

But your most egregious comment is that you “do not take the loss of 1,300 jobs lightly…for every Wisconsinite employed in the predatory loan industry, there are 130 consumers hurt by the industry”.

I’ve just proven — beyond the shadow of any doubt — that you reached this conclusion based entirely on false data. You have been manipulated. And where on earth does this magical number of 130 harmed consumers come from, anyway?

And what will you tell the 1,300 people you put out of work? Will YOU find them a job in this economy? Must I add the “Job Killer” moniker to you as well? And you actually have the nerve to say that the state’s energy assistance program is costing taxpayers money because they can’t pay their mortgage….because of payday loans? What do you think will happen when 1,300 people lose their jobs (it’ll be closer to 3,500 nationwide)? Do you think the state will have fewer people needing energy assistance? Did you consider the $135 million in lost wages from those jobs? Or the $59 million in lost state tax revenue? Did you consider that all those people you THINK you’re protecting will be forced to use other forms of short-term credit that they have already rejected in favor of payday loans?

My GOD, Ms. Dexter, do you have ANY CLUE AT ALL about what you are speaking out in favor of?

DO YOU?

The answer, based on your op-ed, is NOT A BIT.

Rep. Dexter, either you are stupid or you are a sucker. If you are being stupid, that’s easy to repair. Just use your brain and do you research.

If you are a sucker, that’s easy to repair, also.

Vote against Job Killer Hintz’s A.B. 392, convince the co-sponsors to do the same, and send Hintz a message — Wisconsinites do not like politicians making decisions for them.

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