Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Arizona Cracking Down on Payday Lenders

Finally, some good news about Arizona. This state is a hotbed of rightwing activity. Everyone’s heard of Sheriff Joe “Have You Killed A Swarthy Immigrant Today?” Arpaio. And there’s a rightwing Republican who might unseat John McCain this November because McCain is too liberal. (???)

But Arizona is just about to remove one of our society’s most malignant tumors: the payday loan industry.

Several years ago Arizona established a 36% cap on annual interest rates. Payday lenders were granted a temporary exemption from the law, and that exemption expires this June. Arizona’s payday lenders often charge more than 400% annual interest. (No, that wasn’t a typo.) And now they’re wailing that a 36% cap is so restrictive, they’ll just have to shut down their entire loanshark operation in Arizona. Good fuckin’ riddance.

Checksmart is a nationwide payday lender that operates in eleven states, including Arizona. Make that ten, as of this June. Their CEO, Ted Saunders, sobbed that consumers “are looking for a dog to kick. They want to find a villain. They’ve done a good job of painting a big X on my back.”


Arizona won’t be the first state to get rid of payday loansharks. North Carolina — another state you don’t associate with meddling socialist bureaucrats — and the District of Columbia have already done this. Hopefully more states will follow suit.

If the Republicans were still in power, the payday loan industry could have fallen back on the banking industry’s favorite tactic: bribing Congress into deleting all of those pesky state laws. When it comes to state versus federal authority, the Right has two soundbites: “States’ Rights!” and “a patchquilt of state and local regulations.” And whichever soundbite they’re blurting out at the moment, they completely forget about the other one. It never existed.

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Ted Saunders shouldn't worry too much. I'm sure he'll find another way to siphon money from poor people again. Maybe he could start a $39-and-a-job-gets-you-a-car lot.

April 8, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

The county I live in is infested with Payday Loans, Car Title Pawn and not to mention regular Pawn Shops. The ads they run on local TV are absolutely sickening. One local Pawn Shop is running ads right now for "broken, used or old gold".

About 50 miles from where I live is Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, they take the biscuit for Pawn (and affiliated scam artists) Shops. The Military personnel (especially the young guys) get ripped off big time down there. That's Georgia yall.

April 8, 2010 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Ruthless sociopaths can always find ways to extort people.

Holte: When I was in the Navy, downtown San Diego was like that too; crawling with every kind of sleazoid merchant whose only purpose was to rip off sailors. I guess nothing's changed.

April 8, 2010 at 11:23 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Good for Arizona, for putting the slats to payday lenders. Now, maybe the state's honorables could do something about that punishing 36 percent interest rate they allow.

A little bit of usury is like a little bit of broken ribs. Both hurt like hell.

April 9, 2010 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I see I've wandered into the weekly meeting of the I Hate The Free Marketeers.

April 9, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Ha! That coming from a commie librarian. Imagine giving out books for free. Where's the profit in that Randal?

April 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: If a lender thinks 36% annual interest is too restrictive, that person deserves to go out of business. Usury is condemned repeatedly in the Bible. It's funny how so many "Christians" don't seem to notice it; but the one sentence in the Bible that condemns homosexuality must have been written in 80-foot neon letters.

Randal: You're late for the meeting. Vladimir says not to let it happen again.

Demeur: And who needs those sissy books anyway? Real Men are out there waving anti-Obama signs with mis-spelled words.

April 9, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Virginny tried to crack down on the payday lenders. Well, not really. They said they were trying, but those payday lenders might go out of business if they got regulated!

April 9, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One reason why these payday pirates have been so hard to regulate is because they have a big ally - the regular banks, not only do they usually belong to the same trade groups but the banks are looking over their shoulders not only on a "if they could regulate them they could regulate me" basis but also a "If the payday guys can get away with it, maybe I better look at it"

Unfortunately the best Congress could do is keep them away from the bases


April 9, 2010 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: And we wouldn't want those poor loansharks to go out of business, would we.

Erik: Payday lenders probably make an excellent "bad cop" to the regular banks' "good cop." "Hey, you think I'm a ripoff? That guy across the street charges 400% interest."

April 10, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

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