Ben Nevers’ Payday Loan Bill Gets Fleeced In Committee

This morning Oscar did a number on the attempts by Brod Bagert and his merry band of bankster Communists to wipe out an entire industry providing customer service to people in need in Louisiana, and I commend him for it.

Crushing the payday loan industry is an item of some priority for Together Louisiana and the rest of Louisiana’s loony Left, so they’ve got to be happy that the bill filed by Sen. Ben Nevers seeking to limit the industry made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee A today.

Except the bill was gutted, and the 36 percent APR Nevers and the Together Louisiana/Louisiana Budget Project crowd were trying to impose as a limit on interest got carved up and cooked Julienne-style. In its place? Something less onerous.

By the time Senate Bill 84 emerged from the Senate Committee on Judiciary A Tuesday, it was a substantially different proposal. The cap on annual interest fees disappeared. In its place is a prohibition against consumers taking out more than 10 payday loans in a year. The committee also added language setting up a database so the state can keep better tabs on how many dollars consumers are borrowing.

Nevers, D-Bogalusa, agreed to the changes and vowed to work on the bill before it hits the Senate floor. The bill advanced without objection.

“It’s not something that I prefer but I’m also someone who’s been here awhile and understands what it might take to get this bill out of committee,” he said.

The guess is that Nevers might be able to get this watered-down bill to at least a reasonably close vote on the Senate floor, though the chances of it actually becoming law still aren’t all that hot.

But frankly, any legislator who calls himself/herself a conservative or expects the public to believe an “R” next to their name is supposed to mean something couldn’t possibly vote even for the watered-down material in the bill.

It is not the government’s business how many times you take out a payday loan. If you take out a payday loan before every single payday, it is nobody’s business but yours and the guy loaning you money, and adults don’t need Ben Nevers or anybody else in the state government telling them how many times they can borrow money. And because it’s none of the government’s business, there really isn’t any reason why the state should be spending money building a database of payday loan borrowers and/or amounts.

As for Together Louisiana, Ben Nevers and the rest of the crowd – if they think the payday loan people are so terrible and their service to their customers is so awful, why aren’t they getting into that business and putting the incumbents to shame? Surely if the payday loan industry is abusing their clients, those put-upon souls would welcome the entry of a friendlier, more civic-spirited player in the market and reward the new entrant with a burgeoning book of business.

Because Ben Nevers really cares about the poor folks who can’t get a loan. We know that because he’s a Democrat, and all Democrats are caring, concerned, civic-spirited people. We’re a bit confused, however, that in today’s hearing when Sen. Jack Donahue asked Nevers what happens when the people who are taking out three million payday loans per year in Louisiana no longer can get them because the industry has gone away he had very little to say about the issue – and in fact mumbled something about how those people can just borrow money from family members.

Wow, he must be the first person who thought of that! Such a simple, easy solution: go see your rich uncle! Wonder why the people who are wasting money on payday loans aren’t doing that already.

The council of Catholic bishops sent a lobbyist to the table at today’s hearing calling payday lenders thieves and calling himself David fighting against Goliath. By all means, then, why isn’t the Catholic church offering Christian charity loans at far better rates and service levels than the current industry does? Or, if that’s not a good move, then why aren’t they engaging the public in an effort to inform people of the evils of the payday loan industry and all the better alternatives out there (“Save money! Hit up Grandma!”) for people short of cash.

All of these people are pathetic hypocrites. They’ll scream and yell all day long about the immorality of a legal industry which services hundreds of thousands of adults who willingly engage them in business, but they won’t lift a finger to “help” those adults in their actual lives. They won’t pitch in and try to do it better; instead they want to play God and dictate who can do what. Or, said another way, they think it’s their business to deny their fellow citizens the freedom to contract, rather than affirmatively enter the market to offer a better alternative.

I don’t care about the payday loan industry. I’m not going to use a payday loan anytime soon, and I’m not interested in paying 20 cents on the dollar to rent money. I’m also not interested in frequenting massage parlors, porn shops, head shops, video-poker truck stop casinos or sex-toy stores.

But if those things are in your wheelhouse, I’m not arrogant enough to tell you you shouldn’t be allowed to spend your time and money there.

And that’s the difference between me and the dime-store tyrants at Together Louisiana, the Louisiana Budget Project and the rest of the leftist scolds who probably can’t even explain what APR actually is. For those people, anything they like must be subsidized, if not required, by the government – and anything they don’t like must be banned.

This isn’t a difficult concept. It’s easy. The freedom to contract is a fundamental tenet of American liberty; it is what the Founders were talking about when they installed the pursuit of happiness along with life and liberty as fundamental rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. That the Soros gang couldn’t care less about fundamental American rights the Founders enumerated is hardly a surprise, but if so-called conservatives have trouble with it then maybe they oughtn’t be representing us at the legislature.

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