John J. Miller was spot-on in his analysis of the regulation (or lack thereof) of payday lenders. (Feb. 3, 13A, “Payday lenders have a powerful new protector”)
There’s another option to help diminish the business going to those lenders. Catholic Charities in Kansas City, Kan., has a loan program aimed at borrowers who are stuck in the morass of the payday loan industry.
The social service agency qualifies borrowers as to whether they have the ability to pay back a loan. If they do, Catholic Charities will pay off their payday loans with new loans from a local bank at an interest rate of about 6 percent, backed up with the agency’s deposits at the bank. The borrowers then commit to an extensive training program about budgeting, spending and saving. The long-term causes of their financial difficulties are addressed.
To date, there have been only two defaults among the many borrowers who have taken advantage of the program, and one of those defaults was because of the borrower’s death.
The number of banks participating in the program is growing. Loans backed up with 100 percent cash have no risk.
Every borrower who uses this program is another person who will not contribute to the blight caused by payday lenders. The agency does not ask about, nor does it care about, the religious affiliations, or lack thereof, of the borrowers.
But Catholic Charities does care about the people.
George J. Schlagel
Arming the young
Kansas legislators are fast-tracking a reckless idea: dropping the legal age for carrying concealed weaponry from 21 to 18. (Feb. 1, KansasCity.com, “Kansas lawmakers vote to let 18-year-olds have concealed weapons”)
This was slipped into an existing bill, allowing House passage without public notice or input. Gun-carrying on college campuses makes this especially alarming.
The bill’s misguided aim is to arm barely-adult civilians so they can neutralize attackers, but experience and research show it’s highly unlikely these newly-weaponized kids would face such circumstances or fare well if they did.
Much more probable are the risks posed by and to young gunners:
▪ Suicidal behavior peaks at age 16 and remains high through age 25, and gun availability increases suicide risks.
▪ Faulty decision-making is higher among young adults because brain development is incomplete.
▪ College-age folks drink frequently. Half say they binge drink at least once a month.
▪ The bill would require aspiring young guns to undergo eight hours of safety training, but that’s little comfort. Soldiers train far more, yet gun-toting isn’t allowed on military bases.
▪ Some new campus weapons inevitably would be stolen and become criminals’ guns.
▪ Kids lose stuff.
NRA-devoted legislators often blame gun violence on mental health issues. So why embrace madness such as this?
Campaign to Prevent
I agree with Art Jago — the University of Missouri at Columbia should be shut down. (Feb. 8, 13A, “Sacred cows: Missouri must close campuses”)
Oh, wait, that’s not exactly what he said. However, his comments make about as much sense. His argument to close other universities just because MU is sometimes seen as foundering, is, at best, unconvincing. It could more easily be maintained that the Columbia campus is in need of financial trimming, with the funds distributed to schools that are more successful.
I can appreciate that he was employed at the Columbia campus and that he has deep ties to and love for the university. However, attacking other campuses is not the way to find solutions to MU’s problems.
All eyes here
Dear Diary: I feel woefully ignored and insecure. Yesterday I went door to door and asked my neighbors to have a parade in my honor. The response was gratifying. Everyone got on board and agreed I needed more attention. They vowed to march, decorate their kids’ bikes with streamers and carry signs stating, “You are the best!”
Two will wear berets, knowing how I love all things French. One guy plans to decorate his riding mower as an Abrams tank, complete with a huge gun created from duct tape and tin cans.
With this encouragement, I extended my canvassing to the next two blocks. People are committed to make my parade the most attended in the history of neighborhood parades.
Two brothers who live side by side vowed to finance the whole thing. All they asked me to do was change the color of my front door. I love the vibrant lilac hue but decided the change to crisp-new-dollar-bill green was worth the sacrifice.
We are set. The crowds, the majesty, the cheering. A parade all about me!
Honestly, what more can any human ego possibly desire? Ask me the morning after my parade.
Diane L. Kehres