Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Indiana Republicans Take On Religious Leaders-- To Give Their Loan Shark Donors The Right To Rip Off Their Own Constituents


Ever notice that corrupt conservatives always seem to support payday lender schemes while progressives fight against them? As soon as Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney acting head of the CFPB-- the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-- one of his first moves was to stop protecting consumers from predators in the payday lending world. (They were big donors to his political career.) Florida reporter James Elmore from the Palm Beach Post pointed out how Mulvaney is working to destroy all the regulations that have kept the payday lenders from stealing borrowers blind. Elmore wrote that "A consumer agency taken over by an appointee of President Donald Trump who took more than $62,000 in contributions from payday lenders while in Congress said it will suspend landmark rules aimed at alleged predatory abuses in that industry." The 3 members of the House who have taken the biggest reported bribes from payday lenders all work hard to repeal regulations that protect consumers:
Kevin Yoder (R-KS)- $313,009
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)- $266,400
Pete Sessions (R-TX)- $226,999
Brent Welder is the Democrat running against GOP crook Kevin Yoder. This morning he told us that "Payday loan con artists gleefully get rich by trapping hardworking people who find themselves in a pinch. Then corrupt politicians do their bidding to make sure they can keep the scam alive. I am running against these con artists’ biggest bootlicker, Kevin Yoder. I don’t take any corporate PAC donations because I will aways serve hardworking people, and never the payday scammers." And the same kind of crap is happening on a state level-- of course in that states where Republicans control the state Senate, the state House and the governor's mansion... like Indiana:
Payday lenders could charge interest on small loans at rates more than triple what Indiana law currently defines as criminal loansharking under a bill the Indiana House approved this week.

The House on Wednesday narrowly passed House Bill 1319, which would allow storefront lenders to offer three to 12-month loans of $605 to $1,500 with annual percentage rates up to 222 percent.

Under current Indiana law, rates of more than 72 percent are considered felony loansharking. Payday lenders can offer higher rates, but only for smaller loans.

The House passed the measure after Speaker Brian Bosma, who rarely votes on legislation, joined 52 other representatives in supporting the bill, despite his own church's opposition. The bill now moves to the Senate.

"Some (GOP lawmakers) had had political concern about it, that it had some political ramifications for them in their home districts and occasionally I will cast a vote on something like that so they’re not left dangling in the wind themselves," Bosma said.

The vote comes after intense lobbying by payday lenders, who have hired several lobbying firms including those of two former Republican lawmakers who served with Bosma-- Matt Whetstone and Matt Bell.

The payday loan industry argues that the new, unsecured loans will fill a niche not served by conventional lenders, helping customers short on cash and credit who have nowhere else to turn.

But opponents argue that such high-interest loan products are predatory, ensnaring cash-strapped borrowers and sending them into a death spiral of debt.

Those opponents include social service charities, the state's four largest veterans organizations and a large number of religious groups-- including Grace Church, where Bosma attends and sometimes serves as an usher.

Opponents have managed to kill bills in the past that would have created additional high-APR loan options. But this year, opponents say it seems like there is more lobbying power from the payday loan industry.

"It feels like this year it’s like an army," said Erin Macey, a policy analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families. "Anytime we push out one narrative, they’ve found another one."

Four large payday lenders, including Advance America and Check into Cash, spent more than $186,000 on lobbying at the Statehouse last year, according to lobby registration records.

Industry representatives argue there is a greater need this year for a new type of loan because of new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules created during the Obama administration.

"The net efect of this is that payday loans will become obsolete in most part when it becomes effective next summer," said Sabra Northam, representing the Community Financial Services Agency. "The impact of this rule is that the consumers that our association serves today will have to turn to the unregulated market.

"The future of those rules, however, have fallen into limbo under President Donald Trump, who has been critical of the CFPB. The agency announced last month it's rethinking the rules, which would have required lenders to determine upfront whether people can afford to repay their loans.

Bill author Rep. Martin Carbaugh, an accountant and Fort Wayne Republican, said the new loan product would provide borrowers with an additional avenue to build up their credit score.

“We have a demand problem and we have a need for these things," Carbaugh said.

Supporters say the bill includes some protections as well. For example, the proposal prohibits the loans if the monthly payments exceed 20 percent of the borrower's monthly income.

Opponents say those terms would trap low-income Hoosiers into borrowing money they can't easily pay back.

That means borrowers would have to earn about $23,800 a year to qualify for a six-month, $1,500 loan. By the end of the loan, that borrower would end up paying $2,378, according to an analysis by the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

"I’m all for helping people, but this bill is helping no one but the companies that are going to benefit from these high interest rate," said Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis.

Bosma stood by his vote and said he was unaware that his church had taken a position on the matter.

"Our church family of course has to take a position that they think is appropriate, and I have to do what I believe is comfortable as a policy maker," Bosma said Wednesday. "It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve disagreed with the folks at my church before."
Goal ThermometerBlue America's only endorsed candidate in Indiana is Dan Canon and we asked him about how this could happen. "In Indiana, you can see class warfare being openly waged every day," he said frankly. "Here, as in most of middle America, we've got a situation in which poverty is steadily climbing and wages are steadily dropping. The cost of living is always increasing, and the availability of decent-paying jobs is falling. The response of the legislature has been to cut corporate taxes, institute draconian work requirements for Medicaid recipients, and jack up hidden regressive taxes on the working classes (like toll roads and gas fees). The latest insult is a return to the days when predatory lenders could effectively own the working poor. It's barely a secret that our elected officials would like nothing more than to make most of us into a class of serfs who exist to make the rich even richer. We should get rid of as many of these plutocrats as possible in November, and support candidates who will push for progressive taxation, a nationwide usury law capping interest rates at 15%, a living wage, and protections for organized labor."

Like Dan, Hawaii legislator/congressional candidate, Kaniela Ing, is fully woke-- and fighting strong and hard for the working families he represents. Payday lenders are not his cup of tea, to put it mildly. "Payday lenders," he told me this morning, "always happen to be placed in high profile locations within the most vulnerable and indigent communities, preying on the poor. I’ve been in hard times before and was tempted to walk in and fall into the trap. We need major reforms and alternatives for folks just scraping by."

What do I mean when I call these day pay lenders crooks and the politicians who take bribes from them corrupt? I found an interesting story last week about by Bradley Brownell about Scott Tucker. Never heard of Scott?
American Le Mans Series champion and Le Mans veteran Scott Tucker is now more likely to be known as payday lending scam artist and convicted felon Scott Tucker. Through nefarious means, primarily deceptive undisclosed payday loan fees, was able to amass a fortune, some of which he used to fund his Level 5 Racing program for years of top-flight motorsport, and win multiple national championships.

In the new Netflix series Dirty Money, episode two takes a deep dive one-hour look into Scott Tucker’s business history and how the scheme ended with him receiving 16 years and 8 months in federal prison, plus a $1.26 billion judgement. Part of the reason Tucker received so much time in prison for his misdeeds was the absolute lack of remorse.
Sort of like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kevin Yoder-- and the Republicans in the Indiana legislature.

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At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem. the jesus of American Christians is FOR rape and pillage, especially of nonwhite, nonhetero and nonfemale American persons. Jesus would have been shot in self defense had he challenged the 'money changers' in an American church.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Since Republican JAY$u$ carries a big sword, maybe he is into separating heads from bodies?

Why does this sound familiar?


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