I saw this article in the Star-Telegram, and thought this quote was particularly interesting:

“Don Baylor, a senior analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin and an advocate of further controls on payday and car title lenders, said: “The thing that stands out the most for us in the commissioner’s report is the fee consumers have to pay for this kind of lending. It’s the highest in the country…Texans are paying on average 50 percent more than consumers in other states for the same product and the same companies,” Baylor said. “Why are they paying more? Simply because they can charge that here.”

I thought Mr. Baylor had an interesting point about how much payday loans cost, a topic I’ve covered many times before. So I sent him an Email, suggesting that if 1.1 million people used payday loans in Texas then obviously they are voting with their feet, so what’s the problem?

He replied and said that no matter what I said about payday loans, “you will lose that argument with me every time”.

So I challenged him to a public debate, at the venue of his choice, at the time of his choosing, using traditional debate format. We’d have three judges mutually agreed upon, preferably truly non-biased journalists or folks in academia who specialize in debate – just so we don’t end up with Jim Lehrer. I even offered to buy Mr. Baylor dinner.

No reply.

In fact, I’ve sent four emails with this offer.

No reply.

Payday loan opponents seem very keen on making their points to sympathetic media, but when challenged on the facts, and given an opportunity to make their airtight case in a public forum….they always run away.

Why is that? I think it’s the part where both I and the audience get to cross-examine him. In other words, if it walks like a chicken….

So I offer an open-ended challenge to any payday loan opponent — be it in media, public policy, allegedly non-partisan think tank or “consumer advocate”, interfaith council, or credit junkie – I will debate you any time, any where, in the venue of your choosing, under traditional debate format, with 3 mutually agreed upon judges.

Bring it.

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