As we discussed the other day, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB) has issued a proposal for dealing with payday lenders -- and, as you know, the proposal has a few holes. It cracks down on short-term loans a lot harder than it cracks down on long-term loans (it only cracks down, really, on car title loans and loans that can directly access customer bank accounts), which will likely prompt payday lenders to offer a lot more long-term loans, which will still drag borrowers into a spiral of debt. Some folks who get trapped in payday loans wind up paying well over 100% in interest and fees within a calendar year. Will the CFPB proposal do some good? Of course -- being crooked requires smarts, which not every payday lender possesses in huge quantities. But why shouldn't we tell the CFPB to do better? Especially when payday lenders will spend buku bucks telling the CFPB to do worse? So Americans for Civil Rights helps you tell the CFPB to pass the most vigorous payday lending reforms possible.
Meanwhile, Consumers Union helps you tell the FDA limit the amount of arsenic that can be in your food products. You may recall the controversy in 2001 over the amount of arsenic that can be found in drinking water, but that's the EPA's purview, and the EPA doesn't necessarily have jurisdiction over the amount of arsenic you can find in your food -- the FDA does, and aside from setting levels of arsenic in bottled water, they've done bupkus about the whole thing, even as Consumer Reports found levels of arsenic in rice and fruit juices that well exceed what scientists say is healthy for any of us. If you use Consumers Union's email tool, you won't just ask our government to set arsenic limits in rice and fruit juices -- you'll also ask our government to ban the practice of feeding animals drugs and animal waste that contain arsenic, to ban using manure for fertilizer if it has arsenic in it, and to phase out pesticides that contain arsenic, since all of these things contribute to high levels of arsenic. Sometimes you have to be very specific.