fresh voices from the front lines of change








Payday Lenders Use Installment Loans To Evade Regulations

Paige Marta Skiba, Caroline Malone

Installment loans seem like a kinder, gentler version of their “predatory” cousin, the payday loan. But for consumers, they may be even more harmful. In fact, payday lenders appear to have developed installment loans primarily to evade increased scrutiny. While payday loans are typically around US$350, installment loans tend to be in the $500 to $2,000 range. Installment loans are often cheaper than payday loans, with annualized interest rates of around 120% in some states, compared with payday loans’ typical 400% to 500% range. But their nature means they are also rife for misuse and abuse. And any negative effects will apply to a broader group of consumers because they are deemed more “mainstream” than payday loans. If regulatory crackdowns on payday lending continue, installment lending is likely to become the bulk of lending in the small-dollar, high-interest lending market. Given the current lack of regulation of these types of loans, we hope they receive increased scrutiny.

Trump Assaults Facts To Survive Impeachment

Trump assaults facts to survive impeachment. CNN: "Donald Trump is looking to survive impeachment the same way he built his powerful presidency -- by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations of the office he is accused of abusing. On the day that Democrats proposed two articles of impeachment against him, the President and his courtiers laid down a fresh fog to obscure the evidence that incriminates him. The President also issued a mocking defense of his conduct at a rally Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tuesday night -- arguing that the charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress are 'not even a crime.' 'Everyone said this is impeachment-lite. This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country, by far. It's not even like an impeachment,' Trump said. Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, reprised his role spinning his boss out of trouble, dismissing his own department's watchdog report that debunked Trump's repeated claim that a 'Deep State' coup tried to bring him down. Barr also breathed fresh life into another of Trump's conspiracy theories -- that the FBI's Russia investigation was unjustified and rooted in political bias by Obama administration officials."

DeVos Overruled Forgiveness Of Student Loans

Betsy DeVos overruled Education Dept. findings on defrauded student borrowers. NPR: "Documents obtained by NPR shed new light on a bitter fight between defrauded student borrowers and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. These borrowers — more than 200,000 of them — say some for-profit colleges lied to them about their job prospects and the transferability of credits. They argue they were defrauded and that the Education Department should erase their federal student loan debt under a rule called 'borrower defense.' DeVos disagrees: She says most student borrowers still got value from these schools and deserve only partial relief from their federal loans. Now, internal Education Department memos obtained by NPR show that career staff in the department's Borrower Defense Unit came down firmly on the side of defrauded borrowers. Instead of limiting students' debt relief by arguing, as DeVos does, that defrauded borrowers still got some value from their educations, these memos arrive at a different conclusion: that credits earned from Corinthian and ITT schools are essentially worthless. 'Hundreds of unprompted student statements confirm that lack of value of an ITT education, as ITT students time and again report that their education was sub-standard and that their degree or affiliation with the school was an impediment rather than an asset as they sought employment,' reads the Jan. 10, 2017, memo. Until now, these internal department memos have been hidden from public view. Lawmakers had previously requested access to them, but DeVos and her department refused to hand them over."

Trump Cripples WTO To Fuel Trade War

Trump cripples W.T.O. as trade war rages. NYT: "The United States has spent two years chipping away at the World Trade Organization, criticizing it as unfair, starving it of personnel and disregarding its authority, as President Trump seeks to upend the global trade system. This week, the Trump administration is expected to go one step further and effectively cripple the organization’s system for enforcing its rules — even as Mr. Trump’s widening trade war has thrown global commerce into disarray and another tariff increase on Chinese goods set for next weekend could send markets reeling. Over the past two years, Washington has blocked the W.T.O. from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears appeals in trade disputes. Only three members are left on the seven-member body, the minimum needed to hear a case, and two members’ terms expire on Tuesday. With the administration blocking any new replacements, there will be no official resolution for many international trade disputes. The loss of the world’s primary trade referee could turn the typically deliberate process of resolving international disputes into a free-for-all, paving the way for an outbreak of tit-for-tat tariff wars."

Jersey City Shooters Targeted Kosher Supermarket

Suspect published anti-Semitic posts, official says. NYT: "A suspect involved in a prolonged firefight in Jersey City, N.J., that left six people dead, including one police officer, had published anti-Semitic and anti-police posts online and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments, a law enforcement official familiar with the case said on Wednesday. Investigators also found a manifesto-style note inside the shooters’ van, the law enforcement official and another official familiar with the case said. Investigators also found a live pipe bomb inside the vehicle, the law enforcement official said. The Jersey City mayor, Steven Fulop, also said Wednesday that surveillance footage indicated the two shooters had targeted a kosher supermarket where most of the carnage unfolded. Mr. Fulop said the footage revealed that after shooting the detective in the earlier encounter, the shooters slowly drove to the market. 'The perpetrators stopped in front of there and calmly opened the door with two long rifles,' he said."

Ice Cap Melting Accelerates Quickly

Greenland ice melt 'is accelerating'. BBC: "The assessment comes from an international team of polar scientists who've reviewed all the satellite observations over a 26-year period. They say Greenland's contribution to sea-level rise is currently tracking what had been regarded as a pessimistic projection of the future. It means an additional 7cm of ocean rise could now be expected by the end of the century from Greenland alone. This threatens to put many millions more people in low-lying coastal regions at risk of flooding. It's estimated roughly a billion live today less than 10m above current high-tide lines, including 250 million below 1m. 'Storms, if they happen against a baseline of higher seas - they will break flood defences,' said Prof Andy Shepherd, of Leeds University. 'The simple formula is that around the planet, six million people are brought into a flooding situation for every centimetre of sea-level rise. So, when you hear about a centimetre rise, it does have impacts,' he told BBC News. When Imbie published its companion review of Antarctica in 2018, it found the White Continent's contribution by 2100 was likely being underestimated by 10cm. Now, for Greenland, Imbie is saying the shortfall is 7cm. The IPCC will have to incorporate these updates when it releases its next major assessment report (AR6) of Earth's climate in a couple of years' time."

Pin It on Pinterest

Spread The Word!

Share this post with your networks.