Black Backs the Bad Guys

Jim Black (D),leader of the NC House, apparently finds it near impossible to stay out of trouble. While Atty. General Roy Cooper (D) was trying to shut down "payday lenders", Black and another NC House Democrat were taking more than $10,000 each from the lenders.

In case you didn't know, a payday lender is the same as a check-cashing service is the same as a legal loanshark. You bring them proof that you've got a job, and they'll give you a 30-day loan to cover you until your next paycheck. The problem is the interest rate. If you annualize the interest you pay on the short-term loan, the rates are outrageous -- I've heard 200% to 400%. Paying this kind of interest while pre-spending your next paycheck is a quick way into bankruptcy for many. Meanwhile, many banks and credit unions quietly offer the same service at much more reasonable rates. "Payday" = predatory.

While Roy Cooper was trying to shut these places down, the lenders were buying friends in high places. Black supported a law that would have helped the lenders stay in business.

The law didn't pass; Black's office says that donations don't influence policy (yeah, right). But it looks bad, bad, bad. The worst is of course the rich-people-buying-favors aspect -- this is the stuff that turns people off from the whole process. But there's also this: some of the people hurt most by predatory lenders are in the segment of society traditionally defended by Democrats. When the underprivileged are getting reamed by shady businesses, Dems should be there to stand up for the people, a la Roy Cooper. Black was too busy raking in the spoils of dirty politics to help.

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More on Payday Lenders

Here's a PDF factsheet from the Center for Responsible Lending. Highlights:

  • 99% of payday loans go to repeat borrowers.
  • African-American neighborhoods have 3 times as many payday stores per capita as white neighborhoods in North Carolina, even when income is taken into account.
  • The average payday borrower pays $800 to borrow $325.

What an asshole.

As I've said on a few occasions, if this is the best North Carolina has to offer in terms of political leadership, we are truly up shit's creek.

Black is not the rule in N.C. politics....

...and he certainly has enjoyed his position of power. I do think most (not all, certainly) but most politicians in Raleigh are aboveboard. Some of them might not be the brightest bulbs in the pack, but they aren't all corrupt or power hungry. It will be interesting to see how the network of blogs will help get the news out. Politicians at every level will find their votes and quotes are disected like never before. This is gonna get fun!



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Well said.

I think most of their hearts are in the right place as well, at least in terms of integrity issues. I just wish more of our elected representatives had EXCELLENCE on their agendas . . . instead of settling for what often appears to be the least they can do.

Good to see you guys back

Lance and Anglico that is. SD has been hanging out here quite a bit recently.

Thanks!

It's good to be back.

OK...quit the lovefest! We have Republicans to skewer!

It is nice to see you all back working hard for N.C. Dems. Targator did a superb job holding down the fort. I noticed Kos did a direct link to BlueNC. He linked to an article Lance wrote about Hayes. That should bump up the hits. Congratulations.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.