Friday, March 7, 2008

Pay Dirt Not Struck on Payday Loan Limit

Pay Dirt Not Struck on Payday Loan Limit
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 7, 2008

That a bicameral and bipartisan vote in Richmond would attempt to stem the tide of the increasing epidemic of survival via payday lending, is akin to bandaging a bullet hole with scotch tape.

Make no mistake, the Virginia legislative bodies did not overreach in their 91 to 9 House vote and Senate vote to reform the payday lending racket. Yes, a racket, because while I am an avowed capitalist and support private enterprise, these institutions are nothing short of usurious, parasitic degenerates preying on some of the most vulnerable members of society who probably never learned to budget or live within their means.

The votes call for a limit of one loan at a time by borrowers, who must produce a paycheck for such loan eligibility. Borrowers will also be limited to the number of loans they may procure throughout any given year and be provided a greater period of payback time.

The annual rate of interest on such loans will be capped, yes, capped at 36 percent with additional fees to boot. Fees, calculated similarly to an interest rate tally up at 391 percent – simply unconscionable.

Actually, the Commonwealth of Virginia did not go far enough, for although it is not the job of government to restrict free enterprise it does have a responsibility to protect its citizens. But, there is a bigger picture on the horizon.

The payday loan industry manifested itself due to a symptom of a grander illness – living within a cycle of perpetual debt. This is a disease perpetuated by the miserable example set by the federal government, who, regardless of the party in power, spends uncontrollably, believes in deficits and also believes the cure is to tax the people more and more in order to pay for some of the most moronic and innocuous programs.

The citizenry, mimicking the government, spends likewise – not budgeting appropriately, not prioritizing expenses and certainly not saving for retirement or a rainy day. Sad to say, for too many people, it’s pouring – now.

Start with the little things. If you smoke, stop. Drink alcohol, cut back or stop. Eat fast food, stop. These are not necessities, will save money and improve health, thus keeping medical costs down. Unable to make the rent payment, don’t go out to dinner and a movie. No, I am not a member of the food, beverage and substance police. Knock yourselves out – but take responsibility when you can’t make ends meet.

Don’t fall prey to the payday loan hustlers. Create a budget, prioritize expenses, cut back on your own and put these bloodsuckers out of business.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

[This column appeared in the Alexandria Times.]

Moran Once Again on the Wrong Side

Moran Once Again on the Wrong Side
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 7, 2008

While reading the roll call vote of House Resolution 951 dated 05 March 2008, the voice of the late former President Ronald Reagan ruminated through my head, “well, there he goes again,” referring to the cowardly, yet not surprising vote cast by Representative James “Jim” Moran, Jr. (D-VA).

This was a simple resolution, actually, “Condemning the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians…” Yet Rep. Moran, as is his wont, voted “present” – in a tally producing 404 yea votes, one lone nay vote – Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) as well as Rep. Moran and three of his Democratic colleagues voting present. Voting present – meaning, I’m here, but don’t have the moral compunction to do the right thing.

The Washington Post must claim irresponsibility for a lack of factual reporting – by not informing the readers/voters of the statistics on HR 951. Such an overwhelming landslide demonstrates how egregious Rep. Moran’s vote truly is, while the Post instead devoted nearly 50 percent of its item in the “Virginia Briefing” to Rep. Moran’s feeble excuse for said vote.

Once again, Rep. Moran has proven himself unworthy of a seat in the august body in which he serves. As well, Rep. Moran has demonstrated himself to be a hypocrite as he has consistently condemned the actions of the brave American men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan with his votes where he has decried the potential loss of civilian life. Apparently the loss of Israeli civilian life is acceptable to Rep. Moran.

Rep. Moran’s actions continue to be unacceptable to too many of his constituents and it is high time to send him into retirement.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rules Are Rules - Even For the Democrats

Rules Are Rules – Even For the Democrats
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 4, 2008

The Democratic Party commandeered the title, albeit inappropriately, the “party of the people.” This is the same Democratic Party that in 1982 created the super delegate – rewarding party elites with an extra vote in their nominating process. This is the same Democratic Party currently disenfranchising more than two million primary voters in Florida and Michigan.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) established party rules determining that states advancing their primary dates would be penalized by not having those delegates counted or seated at the Denver convention in August. In a letter to the DNC, Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) agreed to abide by party regulations.

With the game heading into the late innings and few players remaining on her bench, Clinton, trailing Senator Barack Obama (IL), is appealing to the umpires for rule changes. Tough cookies, Senator. Rules are rules – even for Democrats. Nobody put a gun to her head and the coronation she expected heading to the convention lay in ruins thanks to a candidate so popular, even his sneezes receive standing ovations.

As for the disenfranchised voters in the Sunshine and Wolverine states, they have their state party leadership to blame for electoral greed and egos. Those states knew the ramifications for amending their primary dates, hoping to impact the course of the nomination process. Now neither state will positively affect the outcome. There is a negative backlash in that two hugely important states will sit on the sidelines while the remaining 48 determine who will be the party nominee. The last time 48 states determined a party nominee, Adlai Stevenson won that Democratic race in 1956.

This should teach the state parties a lesson for the future – follow the lead of the national party.

Currently, the Democrats are trying to determine how to rectify their flawed nomination procedures. Some have suggested seating the delegates from the miscreant states at the national convention anyway. Bad idea. That simply rewards the candidates who had better name recognition as they claimed not to have campaigned in accordance with the rules. It also gives a pass to the states who disobeyed the DNC. Others have suggested seating half the delegates in Denver. Bad idea again, but for half the same reason.

Here’s an interesting idea floated by Florida Governor Charlie Crist – a Republican – have a do-over – and at state expense. A do-over? Um, judge’s ruling – what is this – third grade kickball? At the state of Florida’s expense? The taxpayers must be doing cartwheels over this moronic idea.
Again, bad idea. Beside the two reasons provided, the circumstances will not be the same. Will the names of Senator Joe Biden (DE), Senator Chris Dodd (CT), John Edwards (NC), Mike Gravel (AK), Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH), and Governor Bill Richardson (NM) appear on the ballot? This too is faulty. Fact is, the Democrats made their beds and should lie in them until 2012. Sleep tight.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.