We at CFIF have consistently highlighted the peril of federal, state and local government efforts targeting…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
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.

•…[more]

November 27, 2023 • 03:57 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Questioning Biden's Ukraine Policy Doesn't Make You an 'Isolationist' Print
By David Harsanyi
Friday, March 03 2023
A person is fully capable of rooting for Putin to be embarrassed, beaten and weakened, and also asking questions about where this is all headed.

It's not exactly a sign of a healthy democratic discourse that it's virtually impossible to ask a critical question about the United States' role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict without being smeared as a Putin apologist or an "isolationist."

We've been bombarded with bromides about a civilizational struggle that pits the forces of autocracy and liberalism against each other. "It's not just about freedom in Ukraine," President Joe Biden tells us. "It's about freedom of democracy at large."

Yet Ukraine  which, before the war, regularly slotted in somewhere beneath Burma, Mexico and Hungary on those silly "democracy matrixes" left-wingers used to love  isn't any kind of liberal democracy. Maybe one day it will be. Today Ukraine still shutters churches and restricts the free press. Maybe you believe those are justifiable actions during wartime, but under no definition are they liberal. Ukraine has never been a functioning "democracy." Its people defend its borders and sovereignty in the face of a powerful expansionist aggressor. That's good enough.

But a person is capable of rooting for Vladimir Putin to be embarrassed, beaten and weakened, without accepting the historical revisionism and a highly idealized version of Ukraine. A person is fully capable of rooting for Putin to be embarrassed, beaten and weakened, and also asking questions about where this is all headed.

Last week on "Fox and Friends," probable presidential candidate Ron DeSantis answered a few queries about the war. Perhaps one day the governor will morph into the next Charles Lindbergh, but none of his answers were remotely "isolationist," despite the claims of media. Unless, that is, anything short of automatic, lockstepping support for every foreign entanglement is considered "isolationist."

DeSantis' central criticism was that Ukraine has "a blank check policy with no clear strategic objective identified." Is this contention even debatable? The administration has offered no identifiable endgame, other than "beating" Russia, which is fantastic. But what does that entail? Does it mean we keep sending weapons and billions of dollars until Russia is ejected from the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine or until Volodymyr Zelensky takes back Crimea, as well  which would surely escalate the war into a new bloody phase? Or does beating Russia happen when Zelensky finally rides a Jeep up to the Kremlin? That might take a while.

At The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin (weirdly) accused DeSantis of pandering to "pro-Russian apologists" by dismissing the country as "a third-rate military power." The Biden administration apparently agrees that Russian tanks aren't going to be rolling into Paris or Berlin or Poland any time soon. Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl told Congress this week: "Ukraine is not going to lose. There will be no loss in Ukraine. I think Vladimir Putin hoped that that would happen. It hasn't happened. It's not going to happen."

MSNBC's Steve Benen didn't like that DeSantis criticized his "own country's president"  so much for dissent being patriotic  and that he suggested that "his own country deserves part of the blame for Russia's invasion of Ukraine." But that's not what DeSantis suggested. He suggested Biden deserved part of the blame. And maybe he does.

History did not begin in 2015. CNN, for instance, points out that DeSantis has changed his tone on the issue of Ukraine aid since 2012. Fair enough. It is also true, and far more consequential, that Biden spearheaded "reset" efforts after eight years of purported Republican antagonism toward Russia. It was Biden who led the administration's efforts to readmit Russia access to the World Trade Organization  one of "the most important item(s) on our agenda." It was Biden who claimed Mitt Romney was "totally out of touch" on Russia. It was his boss Barack Obama who told Dmitry Medvedev that he'd have more flexibility after 2012. And it was Putin who likely saw all this as weakness and invaded Crimea. Obama didn't arm that Ukrainian resistance back then, probably because he needed Russia to pursue the most important foreign policy agenda item: the Iran deal.

Perhaps history unfolds differently if the Obama administration hadn't appeased Putin. Perhaps not. Whatever the case, a president with decades of foreign policy incompetence on his resume, only recently costing 13 American servicemen their lives in a botched Afghanistan withdrawal, should not be immune from debate or criticism.

And, no doubt, there are those on the right who are genuine isolationists. There are those who let politics cloud their assessment of Putin's autocracy. Then, there are those on the left who have allowed conspiracy theories that were cooked up during the 2016 election to warp their understanding of Russian power. You get the sense that if Trump had been more bellicose toward Putin, left-wing columnists would be clamoring to send him tanks.

Regardless, if Ukraine's cause is righteous, and our opaque but open-ended commitment is necessary to save Western democracy, there should be no reason to chill debate.


David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books  the most recent, "Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent." 

COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

Notable Quote   
 
"As lawmakers race to strike a deal before the end of the year that could unlock billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, they are struggling to find consensus on U.S. border and immigration policies, a critical piece of the bill in order to gain Republican support in both chambers.Senate Republicans want to see a crackdown on asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for their…[more]
 
 
— Samantha-Jo Roth, Congressional Reporter at Washington Examiner
 
Liberty Poll   

The week's most important question: cranberries or no cranberries?