1. It’s Thursday, June 2, 2016.
2. People living paycheck to paycheck are still going to need to borrow money from someone. So the so-called “payday loan” mills that charge outrageous fees and interest rates won’t merely dry up and go away.
But the new rules being announced today by the Consumer Financial Protection Board give just a little bit of relief to those who feel forced to rely on these leeches.
The new rules, as reported by The New York Times’ Stacy Cowley, payday lenders will be forced to verify customers’ income and, what seems most important, will be limited in the number of times a loan can roll over and keep the borrower chained to the lender.
The industry that thrives off this type of usury isn’t going to go down without a fight. Even though the new CFPB rules don’t require Congressional approval, the folks in Congress beholden to the industry will raise a stink about government overstepping its boundaries.
Tell them to go to hell. This is important protection for people who don’t get protected enough.
3. As I said, people on the edge sometimes need to borrow money to keep things together. And they certainly should have options to meet those needs.
But those options shouldn’t make them the 21st century equivalent of indentured servants. The Obama administration and the CFPB are taking a first step to help some people in need. It’s a good thing.
4. President Obama is itching to use his final year in office to influence who succeeds him.
More than two weeks ago, he gave a feisty commencement speech at my son’s graduation from Rutgers University, in which he offered advice that included “When people start talking about the good old days, take it with a grain of salt,” and “In politics and in life, being ignorant isn’t a virtue.”
Yesterday, the President went to Elkhart, Ind., as a reminder of his first days in office, when unemployment in the RV-making community was close to 20%. It’s now something around 4%, and while Obama didn’t do that by himself, his policies and guidance of the national economy certainly helped create an atmosphere for that recovery.
The President trumpeted his policies – and warned that they faced reversals if the wrong person is elected to succeed him in November.
It’s clear who he meant.
5. But you won’t see the one whose name he meant in this space. At least not for the next 10 days.
I’ve made this resolution to not only not mention the Republican candidate for president, but to not mention anything about him except for this explanation.
As I’ve said in the past week, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have the votes to win this election without having to convince the few who could possibly be on the fence between her and her opponent. As long as most Democrats come together, we’re going to outnumber the small-minded snails who back the other side.
And yet, every day, there’s something to read about her opponent. And here’s the point. It doesn’t matter to him if it’s negative. He abides by the “as long as they spell your name right” school of publicity. No news is the only bad news.
6. My friends at respectable news organizations such as CNN and The Times can’t do this, and I understand. There are standards of objectivity that they abide by, and should, even when exploited by a demagogue.
And now, with all the stories you’ve seen in recent days about various scandals, the news media is doing its job of holding the presumptive GOP nominee’s feet to the fire. That screeching you hear from him is part of him.
But you and I don’t have to say anything about him. He doesn’t matter. We have to talk about what we want for our country. We need a vision for the future. We must think about how we’re going to make our world better for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and those of our neighbors.
That’s what a presidential campaign should be about. That’s my intention from here on out.
7. We’ve got this. Act like it.