I was terrible at debate in high school. I didn’t understand how to establish a case, make a plan, attack the opponent’s position, or formulate logical arguments to counter their assertions.

Neither do opponents of the payday loan industry. The difference is, back in high school, there was nothing at stake except pride. Here, in the real world, payday loan opponents, consumer activists, corrupt charities, ideologues, and grandstanding politicians try every trick in the book to avoid discussing the facts. Their refusal to do so has resulted in harming the very consumers they purport to be helping.

Why? Usually because there’s some hidden agenda at work, although sometimes it’s just plain stupidity. By stupidity, I mean it’s literal definition, “intellectually lazy”. Some folks just are too lazy to think.

Because the facts are unequivocal, and that is exactly why they refuse to engage in debate — because they know they will lose. Instead, they create smokescreens designed to confuse the 98% of Americans who do not use payday loans and to advance their own insidious, anti-American, anti-freedom agendas.

Does that sound like hyperbole? It won’t by the end of this article.

I’ve laid out the facts many times in many articles. I source everything. Every study quoted is truly non-partisan with impeccable methodology, as opposed to the alleged Center for Responsible Lending. I have experience in the stores with customers and owners alike. I’ve visited many times with senior management at all major PDL chains. I’ve gone through countless Profit and Loss statements.

It’s all really quite simple, folks.

Payday loans are necessary for people to meet short-term credit needs.
They are reasonably priced given the risk involved for the lender.
When used responsibly, they offer unquestionable benefit to the user.
The number of responsible users outnumber irresponsible ones by at least a 15-1 ratio.
The primary alternative to payday loans are bounced checks, which are 3 -4 times more expensive.
And the list goes on and on.

Yet when you hear PDL opponents talk or read their silly diatribes, they perpetrate every myth possible to serve their own agenda. So it’s time to further expose those agendas, as well as the worst offenders.

A new website at PDLHallOfShame.blogspot.com will launch shortly and it will name names – the hacks, liars, fools, ideologues, grandstanding politicians and the rare honorable person who at least has the courage to debate the issue logically.

Let me offer up just a sample of some members of this Rogue’s Gallery. Note carefully how they vomit up their pre-digested talking points.

Angela “Crazy As My Hair” Martin, of the falsely named “Economics Fairness Coalition” at OurOregon, was a primary driver behind the move to kill payday lending in Oregon. She said that only permitting PDLs to charge $6.50 per hundred would help the consumer. Of course, we all know she wanted to drive them out of the state, which is what happened. In the meantime, bank strategist firm Bretton Woods’ latest study shows households in states without payday loans pay 125% more in NSF/ODP fees than in those that have payday loans. Oh, and it’s also left those who want a short-term loan to get it on the internet, where fees are $25-30 per hundred, more than what they were before the PDLs were forced out of town. Angela’s reply, “It is fantastic for Oregon”. Does she live in Opposite World?

What might her agenda be? Has anyone opened the books on OurOregon? Nope. So demand that they do. If they have nothing to hide, such as massive contributions by the banking industry, then they won’t have any problem.

“Clueless” Kari Chisholm of BlueOregon.org makes our list for being just plain stupid. In his case, he didn’t bother to research the economics of PDL stores. ” It’s rather astonishing, actually, that these places couldn’t survive by making loans at 36% annual interest (and with fees, 154%)”. He also uses the False Analogy Fallacy (basic high school logic there, Kari) to compare “meth addicts” with payday lenders. Oh, brother.

Bill “None in my own convictions” Faith, who runs COHHIO, refuses to engage in debate. When I sent him a note asking to open a dialogue, he replied, “I suggest you ply your loan sharking trade somewhere other than Ohio”. Talk about a fear of facts! Never mind that “The Parrot” is a war veteran too cowardly to engage in debate. Never mind also that the intent of HB545 in Ohio was designed to put 6,000 people out of work with a rate cap. Never mind that The Parrot seems more interested in paying himself a six-figure salary (8% of COHHIO’s budget), and that his organization spends more on salaries than it does on programs to help the poor. What is The Parrot’s agenda? Has anybody checked into the book for COHHIO? I wonder if any banks have been funding it. What do you think? Is The Parrot just stupid, or is he trying to make citizens more dependent on COHHIO’s services by restricting their access to credit? After all, what could be better than creating a non-profit organization to pay yourself a six-figure salary?

Ohio legislators Chris Widener, John Husted, and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland also make our list. Just your typical grandstanding politicians. Widener claims he “studied and studied and studied” the issue. I guess he must be a complete moron or deliberately chose to ignore what the facts are to advance his own political life. Husted claimed the product was “defective”, which I find amusing considering 154 million transactions were initiated in 2008. I call the Republican Husted a mental defective, for twisting his alleged “belief in the free market” into a law that forces borrowers to now use more expensive options. Nice going (Yes, that’s The Parrot standing behind him in the linked clip). And for Strickland to say, “This is not an interference in the free market”, either makes him stupid or a liar. You pick.

Thomas “Sullen” Suddes is just the kind of ignorant ideologue that fits right in with the anti-business rants of the Cleveland Plain Raw Dealer. Fortunately, the paper is on the brink of bankruptcy. Maybe they should think about replacing their editorial board and slapping some duct tape over Suddes’ mouth.

Former Oregon House Speaker Jeff “I Toast to Putting People Out of Work” Merkeley didn’t even have the courage to pull his media stunt in front of the store he shut down– probably because the soon-to-be-unemployed employees of Check Into Cash would’ve cracked that bottle of champagne over his deserving head. Sources reported that after the toast, the irresponsible borrower in the photo, Maryann Olson, strolled away without the use of her walker. Whoopsie!

Warren “Broken Record” Bolton spends almost all his time writing shrill anti-PDL articles for The State newspaper in South Carolina, without ever actually addressing the facts. He’s your run of the mill ideologue, nothing more, but certainly less.

Sam “Crybaby” Glover is another ideologue who blogs for the Consumerist, which is generally a great website, except for its foolish posts about short-term credit. Crybaby’s feelings are so fragile that when I challenged him via Email on his nonsensical blog post, he refused to engage because I “insulted” him. Suck it up, Crybaby. How do you think the 100,000 people employed in the short-term credit industry feel when you advocate taking their jobs away? That’s something to cry over.

Senator Richard Durbin is grandstanding politician, ideologue, and mercenary all rolled into one. Who else would push legislation that punishes every type of lender, except banks, which offer the most expensive form of short-term credit in NSF and ODP fees.
Maybe that’s why Citigroup has contributed $65,000 to him.

Our most recent addition is Texas state Senator Elliott “Hapless” Shapleigh. He’s been falling over himself every other year to try to kill payday loans in Texas in an effort to call attention to himself as something other than an ineffective statesman, but now he’s hit a new low. He’s so desperate to get a bill passed that he’s trying to link payday loans to toxic mortgages. And the two are linked – say it with me – only in Opposite World.

Also part of our Hall of Shame is Any Blog Comment that contains the following:
“Payday lending is legalized loan sharking!”
“People want heroin and/or prostitution. I suppose you support those, too!”
“Payday loans trap people in a cycle of debt!”
“36% is plenty for lenders to make a profit!”
“Payday lenders are aliens trying to take over the world!”

There’s plenty more folks in our Hall of Shame. Stop by for a visit as we build the page.

Oh, and if you’re going to comment, at least do readers the service of making a cogent argument that doesn’t utilize every fallacy in the book. Stick to the facts, or you too can end up in the Hall of Shame!

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