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.

•…[more]

November 27, 2023 • 03:57 PM

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It’s Looking a Lot Like 1979 Again Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 12 2023
The contrast between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan showed that American strength and assertiveness bring peace, whereas weakness and attempts at accommodation bring chaos. The contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is reconfirming that hard lesson in real time.

Painful inflation.  Rising interest rates.  Societal malaise.  Now add to that toxic mix an emboldened Iran, ongoing Russian thuggery against its weaker neighbor and an audacious assault resulting in American hostages taken by a murderous Middle Eastern regime.  

Suddenly, it’s beginning to look a lot like 1979 again, with Joe Biden supplanting the hapless Jimmy Carter.  

Just like Carter, moreover, Biden can’t claim to be an innocent bystander amid this deepening domestic and international disorder.  To the contrary, the worsening situation is largely attributable to his own deliberate policy choices and weakness.  

For context, contrast the consequences of Biden’s domestic and foreign policies with his predecessor’s.  

On January 3, 2020, Donald Trump approved a deadly attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qasem Soleimani, a man responsible for hundreds of dead Americans.  Predictably, the same Washington, D.C., establishment voices who supported Biden’s 2020 campaign criticized Trump and warned that it would only embolden Iran and risk Middle East conflagration.  In trademark fashion, Biden himself erroneously predicted a “tinderbox” effect:  

President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond.  

In the wake of last weekend’s attack, ponder the retrospective irony of Biden lecturing Trump on keeping our people safe.  

Additionally, recall that President Trump boldly defied conventional diplomatic wisdom by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.  Instead of destabilizing the region as the “experts” predicted, an unprecedented string of Arab-Israeli accords ensued.  

Trump also commenced a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran, which saw Iranian oil export revenues decline from $53 billion in 2018 to $22 billion in 2019, and then to just $12.7 billion in 2020.  

Biden, however, relaxed sanctions and resurrected the Obama Administration’s disastrous accommodationist policies toward Iran.  Consequently, its oil export revenues have steadily increased to $30 billion in 2021 and $43 billion in 2022.  

How has Iran returned Biden’s graciousness?  

As reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal this week, by helping plot and execute Saturday’s murderous attack on Israeli citizens:  

Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group.  

Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions – the most significant breach of Israel’s borders since the 1973 Yom Kippur War – those people said.  Details of the operation were refined during several meetings in Beirut attended by IRGC officers and representatives of four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon, they said.  

Did you get that?  “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the same squad once led by General Soleimani, whom President Trump targeted.  

Which one produced the “tinderbox” that you predicted, Joe?  

The Biden Administration insists that it remains unaware of any direct connection between Iran and last weekend’s attacks, but this is the same administration that insisted Afghanistan wouldn’t fall to the Taliban.  

Speaking of Afghanistan, and even more disturbingly, Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials report that some of the $7 billion in U.S. military weaponry left behind in Afghanistan following Biden’s disastrous 2021 withdrawal “have been observed being used by Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip.”  

Regarding Russia, meanwhile, it’s often conveniently forgotten that on February 7, 2018, President Trump approved an attack that killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria who had threatened American troops.  For the remaining three years of Trump’s presidency, however, Vladimir Putin remained comparatively quiet.  Then just one year into Biden’s presidency, however, he invaded Ukraine.  

These events aren’t some sort of cosmic coincidence.  They’re a cause-and-effect result of Biden’s weakness.  

Since his first day in office, Biden has reduced American military spending, undermined U.S. energy independence to the benefit of foreign producers like Iran and Russia, desperately sought to befriend Iran and revealed weakness and unseriousness to Putin.  

Returning to the theme of 1979, its lesson remains the same.  The contrast between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan showed that American strength and assertiveness bring peace, whereas weakness and attempts at accommodation bring chaos.  The contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is reconfirming that hard lesson in real time.  

Biden already faces a stiff 2024 reelection headwind attempting to persuade American voters that “Bidenomics” is a feature, not a bug.  

With those economic difficulties now compounded by international chaos under his watch, what’s his effective reelection sales pitch going to be now?

Notable Quote   
 
"Congress just passed -- and President Biden just signed -- the latest short-term government funding bill to keep the government running.The bill, which essentially kicks the can down the road, ensures that taxpayers will continue to pay for a bloated government until January, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) said: '...avoiding a (government) shutdown is so very far from mission…[more]
 
 
— Cal Thomas, Syndicated Columnist
 
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