Democrats Declare War on the Poor - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Democrats Declare War on the Poor

Given the abject failure of the War on Poverty — as Ronald Reagan said, “Poverty won” — now Democrats apparently have decided to go right for the heart of the problem, by making war on the poor.

That’s the only plausible explanation for S.500, the “Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2009,” introduced earlier this year by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). The bill would limit interest rates in such a way that pawn shop owners say it would drive them out of business. Currently under consideration by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, this legislation could only make sense to someone who (a) knows nothing about pawn shops, and (b) knows nothing about economics.

Having once been a penurious college student and struggling rock musician, I had a lot of dealings with pawn shops back in the day, and respect the straightforward nature of their business. You have an amp or a guitar and need money, you hock it until you can afford to get it back. And if you don’t redeem it, the pawn shop keeps it and sells it (thereby providing a source of cheap second-hand guitars and amps for other struggling musicians).

The pawn shop business is very easy to understand, and if the interest rate seems exorbitant to middle-class folks and liberal do-gooders, maybe it’s because they don’t understand how grateful pawn shop customers are for the service. Who else offers on-the-spot credit to those who might otherwise have no source of quick cash?

It is idiotic that, on the one hand, Democrats demanded that taxpayers bail out the mortgage industry, while on the other hand they are trying to put pawn shops out of business. Given President Obama’s promise to “save or create” hundreds of thousands of new jobs over the next 100 days, do Democrats really want to destroy an entire industry, one that provides emergency financial services to so many of the poor people whom the Democratic Party claims to represent?

Here’s hoping S.500 dies quietly in committee. Otherwise, once the Chinese get tired of buying U.S. debt, the federal government could have no place else to turn.

Robert Stacy McCain
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