As states move to cap payday loan rates, yet another "acting" head of an Administration bureau has come up with a scheme to circumvent such caps: it would turn a blind eye to payday lenders as they launder loans through big banks. Such cleverness! Unless you think, as I do, that it's only clever if it does our civilization good. Releasing payday lenders from regulatory "burdens" so they can continue to gouge working Americans with 300% loans ain't good, particularly as tens of millions of Americans still can't regain the jobs they lost due to the pandemic. It's not like payday lenders can't make money at levels like 36% annually -- and frankly I'd set such caps a lot lower than that! -- but our Administration seriously believes that any regulation that actually helps Americans is a profound evil, because only money-making bosses matter. Too harsh? The truth is always harsh, but never too harsh, if you're a grown-up. Hence Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell our Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to reject its proposal to let payday lenders circumvent strong protections.
Meanwhile, big private equity corporation Blackstone wants to buy Ancestry, one of the corporations that'll read your DNA to determine your genealogical heritage. And you already see the problem with that, right? It's bad enough that one corporation has all that data and our government can't or won't make laws protecting it from abuse or theft, but having a bankster buy up all that data is like another whole suitcase full of bad. And what would prevent a hedge fund from selling your data to the highest bidder? Certainly not their ethics or morals! I mean, the individuals who run Blackstone will pretend to be shocked, shocked! that anyone would ever think such a thing of them, but they're not stupid. Hence Demand Progress helps you tell your Congressfolk and federal regulators to block the proposed Blackstone acquisition of Ancestry. Maybe someone should tell our President that Blackstone's CEO said he was stupid! Of course I don't know if he did -- Blackstone's executives and I don't exactly move in the same circles -- but it's not exactly unlikely, is it? And it seems to get results.
Finally, House Democratic leadership may hold a vote on H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (or MORE) Act, later on this month, so Drug Policy Alliance helps you tell your Congressfolk to legalize pot and start to repair the damage caused by prohibition by passing the MORE Act. Yeah, I used to think legalizing marijuana was a bridge too far -- though I've always felt putting it on Schedule I of the Drug Enforcement Act was ridiculous, since it's nowhere near as dangerous as drugs like heroin -- but then a few states did it on their own, and they didn't exactly fall apart, did they? No, they did not. The MORE Act would remove pot from Drug Enforcement Act scheduling entirely, and would invest more money into rebuilding the communities that have been ravaged by "war on drugs" policing. "Ravaged" isn't too strong a word, not when you have it from Richard Nixon's own counsel, John Ehrlichman, that the "war on drugs" was never really about drugs, but about oppressing anti-war and black protestors without appearing to violate their rights. And that's a legacy we ought to let go.