We at CFIF have consistently highlighted the peril of federal, state and local government efforts targeting…
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New Study Shows How Overregulating Short-Term Lenders Harms Consumers

We at CFIF have consistently highlighted the peril of federal, state and local government efforts targeting the short-term consumer lending sector.

Less than two years ago, we specifically sounded the alarm on a New Mexico law artificially restricting interest rates on short-term consumer loans.

Well, a new study entitled "A New Mexico Consumer Survey:  Understanding the Impact of the 2023 Rate Cap on Consumers" that surveyed actual borrowers confirms our earlier warnings:

Key findings include:

•Short-term,small-dollar loans help borrowers manage their financial situations, irrespective of the borrower’s income.

•The rate cap has failed to improve the financial wellbeing of New Mexicans, specifically those who had previously relied on short-term, small-dollar loans.


November 27, 2023 • 03:57 PM

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The Menace Abroad: Foreign Policy Threats to Watch in 2011 Print
By Troy Senik
Wednesday, January 12 2011
As we face forward into 2011, both policymakers and average citizens would do well to gird themselves for the many foreign policy challenges this year may present.

As 2010 recedes into memory and 2011 begins to take center stage, America continues a long and bizarre interregnum in our foreign policy posture. Ever since the war in Iraq began winding down and the economy began cracking up during the 2008 election cycle, we have become a nation whose political focus is concentrated almost exclusively stateside.
Although American military efforts continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, a sampling of any evening news broadcast over the past two years would scarcely bear witness to that fact. As issues like unemployment and health care have captivated public attention, our intellectual horizons have seemingly receded to only our own borders.
This is not necessarily an aberration in our history. Though not as deeply scarred as our European counterparts, post-World War I America was still sufficiently put off by the excesses of Woodrow Wilson’s internationalism to swear off most active engagement with the world for nearly two decades.
Similarly, the 1990s brought a national exhalation in the wake of the Cold War’s end. While America remained an active player in the world – those were, after all, the early boom years of globalization – it once again washed its hands of most international security issues. When we did intervene – in places like Kosovo and Somalia – it was usually as an act of armed humanitarianism rather than as a backstop for international security and stability.
Though the foreign policy dispositions of these earlier eras may have been mistakes, they were at least intelligible in the context of their times. What the 1920s and 1990s had in common was that they represented eras of peace after prolonged conflict – even if the resulting passivity would plant the seeds of conflicts to come.
Not so today. In the year that will mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we are still very much under siege by radical Islam. Nine years after the State of the Union speech that gave us the phrase “Axis of Evil,” two of the three states in that ignominious troika are more belligerent than ever. And eight years after its capital fell, the third still wobbles precariously on the edge of chaos. This is not a time when we can afford to ignore the outside world. Gathering storms will not be held off by our willful delusion.
As we face forward into 2011, both policymakers and average citizens would do well to gird themselves for the many foreign policy challenges this year may present. Consider the following questions:
In Latin America: Will drug violence continue to spiral out of hand in Mexico, weakening the influence of the central government and threatening to overwhelm the capabilities of American law enforcement in the Southwest? Will Hugo Chavez’s play for increased dictatorial powers in Venezuela increase his stature in the informal alliance of anti-American powers throughout the world? And, if so, will the inevitable corollary of his ascendancy be a Venezuela hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons? Will the waning days of the Castro Brothers’ rule over Cuba lay the predicate for at least a modicum of liberalization once they’re gone? Or will they find a way to prolong their peoples’ misery and stave off the regime’s inevitable collapse?
In Europe: Will another round of potential defaults in the Eurozone shake the currency union to its core? Will a perpetually put-upon Germany finally decide that subsidizing the indulgences of Mediterranean nations is too high a price to pay for being party to the Euro? Will Britain’s coalition government be able to hold together despite the internal contradictions of an alliance between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats? Will the growing authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin – who recently secured an extended stay for a political rival in a Siberian prison camp – and the sharp increase in fuel prices embolden an already cocksure Russia?
In Africa: Will the fracturing of Sudan cool the tensions that have resulted in so much abject suffering in that nation or usher in a new era of bloodletting? Will Nigeria continue to make its mark as an increasingly important resource supplier or will its endemic corruption limit its capacity for progress? Will Robert Mugabe’s reign of terror in Zimbabwe continue unimpeded for another year? And will widespread immigration from the Maghreb to Europe continue to roil the latter continent or will Europe’s economic downturn find more would-be émigrés staying put in Northern Africa?
In the Middle East: Will Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons continue apace? Is it possible that internal fissures will weaken or even bring down the regime, or is the Mullahs’ grip on power too strong to be shaken? Will Syria’s Bashar Assad – recently revealed to be instrumental in violent protests throughout the Islamic World – continue to grow in stature as the region’s most potent hidden hand? Will Iran unleash the full fury of Hezbollah in an attempt to stave off Israeli preemption? Will a fledgling democratic Iraq be able to withstand the power plays emanating from Tehran? And will Yemen continue to be the biggest problem in the War on Terror that no one is talking about?
In Asia: Will North Korea’s bellicosity finally push the peninsula to war? Or will Kim Jong-Il’s insufficient plans for dynastic succession spell the end of the Hermit Kingdom? Will China take a dramatic stand on the issue of American debt? Or will it use its financial leverage to purchase American silence on its dramatic military buildup? Will the Pakistani government fall back into the hands of the nation’s military? And if so, will the relative influence of the Taliban wax or wane as a result? If such instability does result, will President Obama be faced with an impossible choice between our need for a short-term ally in Pakistan and a long-term friend in India?
If only half of these questions are answered this year, White House staffers should start brewing the coffee in the Situation Room. And President Obama should steel himself. It turns out that busted lip was a coming attraction.

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