A Grace Period for people in need

Jesse James DeConto reports for The Christian Century on an alternative to the predatory credit of payday loans:

As former Pittsburgh cop Tony Wiles knows, people who need money fast are vulnerable.

“I grew up in the inner city, so I’ve seen it all,” he said. “Loan sharks, pawnshops and payday loan companies on every corner.”

Wiles hadn’t considered doing anything about the issue until Rock Dillaman, his pastor at Allegheny Center Alliance Church, preached a sermon on justice. The pastor planted a seed that led Wiles to develop a low-cost payday lender called Grace Period.

Great name. But how does this work? Is this just a slightly cheaper alternative to traditional payday lenders?

That, in itself, would be a commendable effort. Payday lenders are everywhere in America because poor households often need short-term access to credit to cover the kind of emergency expenses that might scarcely register for a wealthy family. Banks, S&Ls and credit unions could be providing that service, but they’re no longer interested in the modest profit margins of such modest loans. Why do all the hard work of handling thousands of tiny transactions for marginal profits when you can just invest in the latest Wall Street roulette scheme?

So payday lending has become the province of vampires. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, there are more than 22,000 storefront payday-lending operations in America doing $27 billion in annual loan volume. About three-fourths of that lending is from “churning” — rolling over existing short-term loans to keep borrowers on the hook. Such “churning” can result in astronomical effective interest rates, as the CRL explains:

If a typical payday loan of $325 is flipped eight times, the borrower will owe $468 in interest; to fully repay the loan and principal, the borrower will need to pay $793.

Payday lenders also collect $3.5 billion in fees every year. That’s a $3,500,000,000 redistribution of wealth from the poor to the greedy rich.

These predators thrive because their customers have no choice. They need this money — just these relatively small amounts, like that $325 loan — and they have nowhere else to turn.

So the idea of Grace Period is to give them somewhere else to turn — somewhere they can get the emergency credit they need without being sucked dry by fees and without falling down the hole of “churning” loans for which the interest exceeds the principle.

That’s why, as DeConto reports, “Grace Period offers free loans for clients who repay them within 13 days.” But it also “requires a long-term savings program so clients can meet their emergency needs in the future.”

This savings program gets a bit complicated, and I’m not sure what the program is measuring when it reports on the effectiveness of its attempts to “encourage personal financial reform,” but Grace Period counts some 3,000 borrowers who have begun to save.

And, in 2010, it provided $1.5 million in emergency lending to people who desperately needed it. As Grace Period’s CEO, Dan Krebs, says: “We’re keeping people from going to places that are really going to take advantage of them.”

The program doesn’t turn a profit, but it pays for itself — for the seven employees who process these loans and payments:

The founders of Grace Period aim to show that the model is sustainable. “Unless it’s self-supporting, nobody’s going to duplicate it,” said Krebs.

Grace Period presented its model at the past two conferences of the Christian Community Development Association, and the agency is encouraging alternative payday lending, which is taking root across the country. The founders of Just Money Advisors, a nonprofit financial planner with clients in 25 states, are working to open another Grace Period in Louisville, Kentucky.

So, yes, this can be self-supporting. And, yes, it can be duplicated. And, yes, other church groups and altruistic people are duplicating it.

But if it’s self-supporting and replicable, then it doesn’t just have to be church groups and altruists doing this sort of thing as charity. Cities, counties and states could duplicate this model as well. Keeping the needy from being preyed on by vampires isn’t just a matter of charity. It’s also, as Pastor Dillaman said, a matter of justice.

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  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    I definitely like the idea ( . .)  I hope it spreads.

    Honestly this is the kind of thing that drives me slightly nuts – I see this and think “There are so many problems that wouldn’t BE problems if folks at the top didn’t get greedy.”

    I mean capitalism has issues at it’s bedrock, but it can suck substantially less – and without ‘big government’* – it’s just that in order for it to do so the people with the capital have to actually be reasonable, responsible people who aren’t just out to milk Joe and Jane Average for all they have.

    Of course that’s the thing isn’t it?  It’s not about responsibility and sustainability, it’s about getting as ridiculously rich as humanly possible.

    *Hate that term so much.

  • Erl

     Cities, counties and states could duplicate this model as well.

    Honestly, right now, the logical candidate is the Federal government. It could use the extra space in Post Offices left by the shrinking service; since the USPS is nominally independent, it could rent the space to the government as a way to pay down its (zero interest, perpetually rolled-over) debt. The programs will pay for the employees, and the financial overhead can be borrowed using T-bills at negative interest rates. The program wouldn’t merely pay for itself. It would pay for itself at every step, and by lessening the financial trauma on the poor, would lessen the strain on existing government services.

    Agreed that this is a matter of charity; agreed that this is a matter of justice. But even if we were venal and amoral, it would still be a very good idea.  

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     See but the problem here is, you’re wanting to LESSEN the pain of the poor… no no, the way we do things here in America is to turn the screws harder;  surely a little more pain will make them straighten up and fly right.  Or something.

    (I like your idea.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    We have a government program that provides low-interest emergency loans to low-income people, and also matches the savings they accumulate dollar-for-dollar up to about $500. It’s good stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Honestly, right now, the logical candidate is the Federal government. It could use the extra space in Post Offices left by the shrinking service; since the USPS is nominally independent, it could rent the space to the government as a way to pay down its (zero interest, perpetually rolled-over) debt. The programs will pay for the employees, and the financial overhead can be borrowed using T-bills at negative interest rates. The program wouldn’t merely pay for itself. It would pay for itself at every step, and by lessening the financial trauma on the poor, would lessen the strain on existing government services. 

    This is a good idea, and would be quite effective.  Unfortunately, it would also never make it through the political process.  Watch as the lending industry lobbies against such measures, some politicians will level charges of “Socialism!” at those proposing it, and other politicians will claim that such a thing is doomed to failure because nothing the government manages could ever work well and this will just screw the poor (in contrast to rational free market actors, I am sure.)  And let us not forget those megachurch pastors who will argue that mitigating poverty limits their religious expression by “usurping” their role as charity givers.  

    Sometimes what depresses me most is not that bad things happen, but that good things will not.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “encourage personal financial reform”

    *karate headdesk*

  • Andrew Galley

    It does ring a lot of alarm bells, but given the context I’d probably want to hear more before head-desking. 

  • Matthew Lafferty

    Having gone through the Dave Ramsey course pretty recently, this really resonates with me as a cool thing. The idea of not kicking people (with interest) when they’re already as down as they can get AND encouraging them to save money to avoid similar issues in the future are both very good things. We need way more stuff like this.

  • Erl

     “encourage personal financial reform”
    *karate headdesk*
    See, I understand why “the poor don’t have good financial skills” is part of the bullshit, poor-hating ideological constellation. But it doesn’t need to be. I believe that poor people are likely to have poor saving skills, for a set of very good reasons:1. They’re people. “Saving skills,” in a modern bank economy, are basically a kabuki version of delaying gratification, and people in general are really bad at that. They’re especially bad at that when they’re under stress—which drains the psychic resources needed to delay gratification—and, surprise, poor people are under some of the greatest stresses of all.  2. They don’t have the practice, or the opportunity to do so. Poor people don’t have money (basically by definition), so they don’t have nearly as many opportunities to learn how to save, and how saving works best for them. If they grew up in poverty, they’re very very unlikely to have had a trial period with financial institutions like wealthier young adults may, when they go off to college and open a bank account before there are serious bills to pay. 3. Financial services directed at the poor are likely to be abusive, as Fred and others have amply documented. This means that poor people—quite reasonably—are likely to be suspicious of financial institutions, and thus reluctant to employ them. Now, all that said, it’s clear to me that, inasmuch as poverty and poor saving skills are correlated, it’s because poverty causes poor saving skills, and eliminates opportunities for good saving skills, rather than the poor being responsible for their own condition. However, (sadly) such skills are probably most vital for the poor (as opposed to other income groups), even as they are hardest to practice. So bringing financial institutions that mitigate 2 & 3 into poor communities, with some specific goals to educate about saving—so long as you avoid a “save yourself out of poverty” framework, or a condescending “the poor are just dumb/unthoughtful” framework, could be helpful. No guarantees this program does so, though. (Caveat: IANA social worker; my commentary above is based on what I’ve heard indirectly about some other financial services programs directed at the poor, and I am of course open to being corrected.)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     Indeed.  I’ve watched this with my own family’s climb out of poverty.  Financial skills are something that takes money, time, and practice to acquire… none of which are generally available to someone living in poverty.

    One other thing I’ll add:  Even if you can manage the task of getting out of poverty (in terms of money earned per year) – even if you can learn to manage your money beyond just (as my mom would say) “putting out the hottest fires first” – even if you can do that you can STILL have problems saving because it’s entirely probable that you’ll have bills leftover from when you were broke that need paying.

    Example:  My mom lost her job at one point just as we were getting financially stable – during the time she had to look for work, we nearly lost our house *3 times*, and all the settlements and stuff made along the way to keep our house meant that when she got back to work, there was a tremendous backlog of debt to pay off.  (There was also a substantial power bill)

    Or to put it all another way – being poor teaches you a very specific way of managing money – how to keep the lights from getting shut off for another week, or keeping your apartment or house another month… but you often rack up debt doing that and that debt will haunt you even after the payments are themselves not an issue;  and unless you’ve been taught in some fashion it’s probable you’re going to keep resorting to your original style of “throw money at the biggest problem first”; which creates issues.

    That of course is if you can ever climb out of poverty in the first place – if you can’t, you’re always stuck in “OH SHIT” mode; which is not conducive to any sort of long term… anything.

    At least that was my experience growing up.

  • Erl

    ugh, screw discus. Let me see if the line breaks are better this time:

    “encourage personal financial reform”*karate headdesk*

    See, I understand why “the poor don’t have good financial skills” is part of the bullshit, poor-hating ideological constellation. But it doesn’t need to be. I believe that poor people are likely to have poor saving skills, for a set of very good reasons:

    1. They’re people. “Saving skills,” in a modern bank economy, are basically a kabuki version of delaying gratification, and people in general are really bad at that. They’re especially bad at that when they’re under stress—which drains the psychic resources needed to delay gratification—and, surprise, poor people are under some of the greatest stresses of all.  

    2. They don’t have the practice, or the opportunity to do so. Poor people don’t have money (basically by definition), so they don’t have nearly as many opportunities to learn how to save, and how saving works best for them. If they grew up in poverty, they’re very very unlikely to have had a trial period with financial institutions like wealthier young adults may, when they go off to college and open a bank account before there are serious bills to pay. 

    3. Financial services directed at the poor are likely to be abusive, as Fred and others have amply documented. This means that poor people—quite reasonably—are likely to be suspicious of financial institutions, and thus reluctant to employ them. 

    Now, all that said, it’s clear to me that, inasmuch as poverty and poor saving skills are correlated, it’s because poverty causes poor saving skills, and eliminates opportunities for good saving skills, rather than the poor being responsible for their own condition. However, (sadly) such skills are probably most vital for the poor (as opposed to other income groups), even as they are hardest to practice. 

    So bringing financial institutions that mitigate 2 & 3 into poor communities, with some specific goals to educate about saving—so long as you avoid a “save yourself out of poverty” framework, or a condescending “the poor are just dumb/unthoughtful” framework, could be helpful. No guarantees this program does so, though. 

    (Caveat: IANA social worker; my commentary above is based on what I’ve heard indirectly about some other financial services programs directed at the poor, and I am of course open to being corrected.)

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    “the poor don’t have good financial skills” is part of the bullshit, poor-hating ideological constellation. But it doesn’t need to be. I believe that poor people are likely to have poor saving skills, for a set of very good reasons:

    “Saving skills” is a head-fake. It’s like a finger, pointing at the moon. Don’t focus on the finger!

    “Financial skills” go way beyond saving. They involve being able to estimate costs-over-time, being able to assess short-term costs versus long-term costs, building mid- and long-range budgets that include “unexpected” costs, and a whole host of other skills and behaviors.

     basically a kabuki version of delaying gratification, and people in general are really bad at that.

    It’s worse than you think. The behavioral pathology of financial insecurity (living paycheck to paycheck, not having enough money) is very similar to food insecurity, including the vicious “starve-binge” cycle of deprivation followed by over-compensated consumption that leads to further deprivation.

    Studies have shown that decision-making create a specific kind of mental fatigue, and that individuals only have so much capacity for that sort of critical thought. When so much time and energy goes towards making it to the end of the week with cash, there’s very little left over for comparing interest rates and payment plans and budgeting for car repairs. 

    “Broke” is a financial condition. “Poor” is a lifestyle. Poverty is the result of a whole host of systems that create higher costs for those with the least capacity to pay them. Yes, predatory lending is part of it, in it’s many forms (payday loans, pawn shops*, rent-to-own centers, “discount” insurance) but there are a whole host of factors that work against the poor. (the quality of public transit, food deserts, weak labor laws) 

    *A quick note about pawn shops: it’s actually very unfair to lump them in with payday lenders and rent-to-own bandits. Pawn shops offer secured loans, which means if you can’t repay the loan, you lose the collateral, but the deal is done. Pawn loans don’t necessarily go on your credit report; there are no “pawn broker collectors”. In a very real sense, pawn brokers act as bankers to the very low income, and yes, they do so at a profit. However, (and I can’t stress this enough) if you can’t repay the pawn shop, they take your collateral, and the deal is done. No credit reporting, no late fees, no collection agents calling you at work, no increased cost on future loans. 

  • Mary Kaye

    There’s also the point that some life circumstances make it actively unsafe to save money.  If you cannot put it somewhere safe–because you are living with an abuser, or living on the streets, or your available financial institutions are untrustworthy–you are better off spending it on things you need right now.

    There’s also the problem that in sufficiently bad economic times saving can be harmful.  I grew up during a hyper-inflationary period where if I put money in my piggybank 10% of it vanished each year.  Not exactly an incentive.  And my investments and retirement funds, as an adult, have been prone to sudden vanishment due to stock market crashes.  I struggle with a gut feeling that long-term savings are a fool’s game and it is better to, say, replace the roof now–at least then I will have a non-leaking roof.

    A member of my workgroup lost most of his savings to a spectacular instance of financial institution fraud.  He *might* eventually get the money back, but right now it looks like he would have been better off spending it.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    There’s also the point that some life circumstances make it actively unsafe to save money… 
    There’s also the problem that in sufficiently bad economic times saving can be harmful.

    These are both good examples of why the “saving” issue is a head-fake. 
    If a $20 pair of shoes will probably last you six months, and a $60 pair of shoes will last you three years, you’re better off buying the more expensive shoes, even though you’re not “saving” money until two years from now. 

    If you have an extra $150, “saving it” with a bank account/under a mattress/in a piggy bank is a bad choice if you have a credit card debt that’s charging interest every month, because no investment you make will have an after-tax rate-of-return that’s higher than the credit card’s interest charges. Even if you wind up having to pay $150 with the credit card for a doctor’s bill/car repair/whatever, you still wind up paying less interest. 
    ***
    There’s also a strange psychology to cash. Being paid in cash, having a handful of bills, has a strong emotional effect. (as anyone who has ever been paid in tips will tell you!) 

    There’s a lot of factors involved in poverty, a lot of hidden costs and “barrier-to-entry” costs, a lot of time-value-of-money problems. But getting rid of pay-day lenders? That’s a great start.

  • Dan Audy

    These are both good examples of why the “saving” issue is a head-fake. 

    If a $20 pair of shoes will probably last you six months, and a $60 pair of shoes will last you three years, you’re better off buying the more expensive shoes, even though you’re not “saving” money until two years from now.

    The Sam Vimes theory of social inequity.

    The reason the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in the city on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.This was the Captain Samuel Vimes “Boots” theory of socioeconomic unfairness. 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Now imagine ten-dollar boots being advertised on billboards with celebrities but only in the poorest neighborhoods. And $50 leather boots only being sold in suburban malls where the buses only run once an hour and security guards follow poorly dressed people around. 

    It’s not just a matter of accurately gauging long-term benefits against short-term costs; it’s a matter of merchandisers aggressively promoting bad choices to the poor. 

    Sam Vimes would have been aghast at Rent-A-Center. 

  • Erl

    And the Upton Sinclair response, from The Jungle:

     All the clothing that was to be had in the stores [in the poor area of town—ed.] was made of cotton and shoddy, which is made by tearing old clothes to pieces and weaving the fiber again. If they paid higher prices, they might get frills and fanciness, or be cheated; but genuine quality they could not obtain for love nor money.

  • PJ Evans

    If a $20 pair of shoes will probably last you six months, and a $60 pair of shoes will last you three years

    That’s one of the ways I make decisions. It works pretty well.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I like this idea because it doesn’t involve passing laws.  go for it

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     What’s wrong with laws, conceptually speaking?

    —-
    Another point about the poor and “saving skills” – it relies on having enough income to actually be able to save. That’s hardly guaranteed nowadays.

  • BrokenBell

    I’m not Chris Hadrick, and I’m not really talking conceptually, but I could see why someone might encourage plans and actions that could be implemented without having to codify them in law beforehand. Even if it’s just for the fact that passing a poverty-relieving law through this Congress would be like passing a kidney stone through your eyeball, and you wouldn’t even have an interesting story to tell afterwards.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Those are all good, practical reasons to support a program that can be enacted without passing a new law, but based on the poster’s history, I believe his problem was with the idea of a law doing good in this area, even hypothetically. I might be wrong though.

  • reynard61

    “What’s wrong with laws, conceptually speaking?”

    I suppose it depends on who’s doing the conceptualizing. If those who are writing the laws are writing laws that are fair and just and apply to the gazillionaires as well as to the poor (i.e. no sleeping under bridges*), then I suppose that laws can be a reasonably good thing. However, if those who are writing the laws are writing (and passing) laws that are unfair, unjust, and designed to benefit the rich while being used against the poor — and/or “The Other”, such as voter-suppression laws, pro-usury laws, etc. — then The Law becomes nothing more than a cudgel with which to beat down those who can’t afford to buy the necessary influence to get those laws changed in their favor.

    So, yeah; when concept (write good laws to be followed by all) meets reality (write unfair, unjust — in other words, *BAD* — laws to be enforced only when it’s convenient to those who passed those laws in the first place), reality is usually going to come out the winner no matter how good the concept sounded in your head or on paper.

    *”The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” – Anatole France (Le lys rouge, 1894)

  • Peter Seebach

    Interesting! I’d sort of speculated that a financial services place which didn’t try to make money, but provided basic services (check-cashing, etcetera) would not lose money very quickly, but would be of immense value.

    I have more than once found that giving a person who is desperately poor and unable to start saving $100, once, can result in them being financially stable within a couple of months, as all the bank fees and predatory loan pricing evaporate.

  • Balaur

    I’ve tried the more expensive shoes a few times and they never seem to last me any longer than the cheap ones do. I suppose one of the skills that I still don’t have is knowing which fifty-dollar boots are the good ones and which are just ten-dollar boots plus forty dollars.

  • http://loveiswhatyoudo.wordpress.com/ J.R. Goudeau

    I love this idea because it comes between several alternatives: payday loan sharks (EVIL), churches giving handouts or charity that doesn’t enable people to get on their feet, and homelessness as part of a downward cycle of poverty it’s almost impossible to escape from. Churches or other groups working with the poor to help them in a responsible way sounds like a good plan to me. Like everyone else, I’d have to see it in action, but it sounds like the same principles that have made microfinance such a good fit in some cultures and economic systems. Interesting idea–I wish someone would start this where we live! One of our refugee families just lost $10,000 when it was stolen out of the backpack they keep it in (wrong on so many levels) and there are very few good options once they start going down that path of serious poverty.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    bringthenoise-  once it got into the political sphere it would be ruined in many different ways, inevitably. 

    “The program doesn’t turn a profit, but it pays for itself — for the seven employees who process these loans and payments”

    if it ain’t broke..

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Why “inevitably”? This attitude that the government can never doing anything righs is so common (especially on the right) – but it’s so obviously WRONG as well. Just look around you – when did you last eat poisoned food due to a botched inspection? When did a road bridge last collapse under the weight of traffic?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Replace ‘political’ with ‘commercial’ in Chris’ claim.

  • PJ Evans

    Once upon a time banks would actually sponsor savings programs for kids in elementary school. You could put in a nickel or a dime or whatever, and they’d record it and pay interest on it. Even a little bit, every week or two, will add up that way. They didn’t charge fees on the kids’ accounts, either. (I think that stopped when the banks discovered credit cards….)

  • Lori

    OT: Fred’s Father’s Day post got a mention at No, Seriously, What About The Menz? (which is now hosted at The Good Men Project).

    http://goodmenproject.com/noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz/links/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=links

    Fred is getting all internet famous and stuff. May it lead to good things and interesting opportunities.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    bringthenoise-  Well, people get food posioning all the time even though restaurants are inspected and the roads are awful. 

    That’s not the point though. The church will do this better than the state and, dare I say it, bettter than the market, which will of course affix a higher price to the loans to counter the higher bad credit risk.

    Walter Block talks about this issue in Defending the Undefendable

    http://mises.org/media/3527/21-The-Ghetto-Merchant

  • Lori

     

    The church will do this better than the state 

    You talk as though this is a given. It isn’t.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    bringthenoise- Well, people get food posioning all the time even though restaurants are inspected and the roads are awful.

    All the time? In my city food poisoning from a restaurant makes the news (cos it’s not that common). The vast majority of food poisoning is from food people prepare themselves, at home.

    Maybe you need to put the chicken in the fridge, Chris.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    This sounds a lot like some of the micro-lending charities I have seen, such as Unitus.  They function by doing small loans to people in poverty stricken areas to give them a chance to build their own assets enough to be self-sufficient.  It is not an end-all solution, but it does help destitute people get on their feet a little so they do not have to sacrifice a modest quality of life just to keep eating.  The nice thing about the charity is that it is funded by its own (very low) interest income, so all the donations that go to them go into their pool of lend-able money so they can expand the operation to more people.  

    As for the money-managing thing, they do that too, but mostly that consists of consulting with applicants for weeks before approving a loan, assessing their situation and making sure that they have a viable plan to pay it back in a generous matter of time after getting what they need.  Not sure if that works for emergency loans, but it does help build an applicant’s ability to support themselves a little at a time.  

    One of the things that I find attractive about the idea is that it is self-sustaining.  The difficulty with strictly giving forms of charity is that the problem always seems bigger than people’s ability to cope with it, and people just give up on it.  Things like this on the other hand, give some hope that the problem of poverty actually can be solved, at least eventually.

  • Lunch Meat

    The church will do this better than the state

    Why isn’t it then? Are we supposed to expect all of the poor people in the nation to go to this one lender with its seven employees?

  • JustoneK

    There are roughly 600 churches in my homecity.  Some of them are in fact directly across the street from each other.  Most of them are full every single Sunday, and frequently Wednesdays.  (it’s a thing in the South, I dunno if the Weds night service is as regular elsewhere.)  Some 65% (pulled out of my ass, honestly) do more regular programs for the poor, including clothing drives, food, and homing.
    We still have poverty.  If having a church program nearby fixed poverty, it’d damned well be more fixed than it is by now.

  • http://www.seebs.net/log/ Seebs

    What’s wrong with laws? Many things.
    1. Enforcing them costs. Even having them there costs time and money, as it increases the number of things you have to be aware of to run a business.
    2. People may break them anyway; even if a law would solve a problem if everyone followed it, that doesn’t mean the problem is solved. A solution which does not rely on people following laws is usually more robust.
    3. Laws cannot adapt to circumstances, and have no judgement.

    What’s wrong with laws? The same thing that made salvation through following all the rules unworkable, ultimately.

  • Lori

    I really hope someone has time to talk about the many things that are wrong with this list. I have to leave for work soon, but I’ll start it off.

    3. Laws cannot adapt to circumstances,

    Of course they can. Laws can be amended or repealed.

    and have no judgement.

    The laws themselves obviously have no judgement but the people enforcing them do, so this is a rather silly statement. Also, the lack of “judgement” in the law is often actually a good thing. What is and is not punishable should not change from day to day, or based on who you are or who you know. We have enough problems with that with laws. Not having them would not make that problem better.

  • http://www.seebs.net/log/ Seebs

     Laws can be changed, but until they are changed, they can’t adapt to circumstances. They can’t respond to each thing in a way reflecting that thing’s unique circumstances.

    Thing is… I don’t think lack of judgement is a good thing. It may be less bad than corrupt judgement, but any fixed set of rules will fail in a number of cases. Decisions made by people who care and can take more things into account are generally better. Yes, that also opens the door to failure. Free will is like that in general; if you have choices, that implies the possibility of bad choices.

    But having watched people become homeless because the Law specified a weekly rate at which benefits could be paid, and that did not allow paying enough money to avoid eviction, and having watched people go off their antipsychotic meds because the Law said that they had to restart the entire application procedure if someone lost their paperwork…

    You cannot create morality through law.

  • Erl

    What’s wrong with laws?

    This is a highly silly way to formulate this discussion. Of course laws have benefits that other social forms don’t; of course they also have weaknesses.

    By framing the discussion as above, the question becomes  “can we form arbitrary sides based on our sense of our allegiances in the discussion, and then rattle off these benefits and weaknesses/the relative benefits and weaknesses of other social forms?” And yup, we can. I can even guess what team I’m on (team law). But we won’t get anywhere interesting, because everyone has some taste for the law, (even Chris, whose carelessly absolutist anti-law statement brought us here) and each of us recognizes it has some limits.

    By my lights, the far more interesting question is whether the law—or, more accurately and less evocatively, state programs—are an appropriate way to implement and expand the beautiful privately charitable program Fred outlines above.

    I think it is. The program is clearly in the public interest, and for reasons I believe I’ve successfully outlined above it would be of pretty much strict benefit to the state. 

    Furthermore, in response the questions about injustice capture (i.e., the co-option of pro-justice programs by selfish interests), it’s hard for me to imagine how a program making zero-interest loans in very small denominations would be captured by the forces of wealth and avarice. It’s, by definition, too small potatoes. 

    With regard to whether a government program of this type would be effective, the program seems to rely on a consistent framework, technical skills and reliability of service, which are the virtues of the government—rather than more nebulous NGO assets like highly passionate staff, or specific community awareness. 

    I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has specific thoughts about why this program wouldn’t serve as a good model for a government one, of course. But it seems a sensible candidate.

    (And sorry for going on and on! I’m just recently getting my talk-about-politics mojo back, and it seems to be coming out all at once.)

  • Daughter

    Here’s a thought: government entities and NGO’s often interact. One key way they do it is that the government develops the programs and sets the standards, then issues an RFP (request for proposals) from NGO’s who believe they can implement the program effectively. NGO’s whose proposals are approved are given funds by the government to implement the program, and must report back at certain intervals (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually) on their outcomes and the progress they are making toward achieving the program’s goals.

    These allows the programs to benefit from the advantages you named for gov’t (consistent framework, etc.), while also benefitting from the assets nonprofits bring to the program, such as close connections with the community. Many, many gov’t programs you could name–Head Start and WIC, for instance–are actually carried out by nonprofit community based organizations.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    lori- of the three entities, the market, the state and the church the church will do it the best BECAUSE the market as I noted affixes a high price to doing business with people who are credit risks. Much as greeces bonds have interest the risks involved in loaning people who have bad credit are high.

    This is not a capitalist enterprise being discussed it is a charitable one. It has elements of capitalism but the people doing it for humanistic purposes not returns.

    This is the proper role of the church in society. Theres nothing in the Constitution about the government providing low interest loans to people through the apparatus of, what, the treasury? No one in congress is suggesting it either that I know of.

    again, if it ain’t broke why fix it?  It sounds like a good program. 

    Remember the sub prime mortgage fiasco? who wants to be some sub prime lending debt? rated AAA? no thanks. leave the big shots out of it.

    prediction: if this idea spreads, which I hope it does, the primary opponents of it will not be from payday lenders but the state. the Payday guys will lose money, but the state will lose POWER. When people see how  good the church is at running something they will want it to run other things. The government won’t like that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    prediction: if this idea spreads, which I hope it does, the primary
    opponents of it will not be from payday lenders but the state. the
    Payday guys will lose money, but the state will lose POWER. When people
    see how  good the church is at running something they will want it to
    run other things. The government won’t like that.

    If churches want to do good things such as low-interest microloans, far be it from me to stop them. But churches should absolutely not be the only or even the primary source of good things such as low-interest microloans. If only because one in five people in the US is nonreligious and most of the rest don’t belong to whatever denomination church we’re talking about.

  • reynard61

    You seem to think that “the church” would be willing to lend to anyone who came to their door and asked to borrow money. What makes you think this? There are churches that are fighting, or have successfully fought, to get laws passed so that QUILTBAG people cannot legally marry. What makes you think that they won’t fight equally as hard to get laws passed so that they won’t have to lend money to people whose sexual orientation (or religion, or lifestyle, or whatever…) they don’t like? As I noted in my earlier post, when concept (the idea that churches will do a better job of short-term interest-free lending simply because they’re *not* the government) meets reality (the probability that churches will refuse to lend to people whom they don’t like for whatever reason), reality tends to win no matter how good the concept may have sounded. I see no reason why this would be an exception.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    This is not a capitalist enterprise being discussed it is a charitable one. It has elements of capitalism but the people doing it for humanistic purposes not returns.  This is the proper role of the church in society.

    1. Achieving “humanistic purposes” rather than capitalist returns is one of the roles of government.

    2. The primary role of churches in society is not to provide the welfare function that you believe the government should not. It’s very good that they provide those services because they’re needed, but doing so is not the definition of a church.

  • Daughter

    prediction: if this idea spreads, which I hope it does, the primary opponents of it will not be from payday lenders but the state. the Payday guys will lose money, but the state will lose POWER. When people see how good the church is at running something they will want it to run other things. The government won’t like that.

    That makes no sense. The state is all of us–we the people, and all that. Not to mention, as I’ve already noted, the state often partners with nonprofit organizations, including churches (provided their services are non-sectarian), to carry out many worthwhile ventures. And in many cases when the gov’t partners with NGOs and churches, it wants to do so for a limited time period, after which the NGO or church will sustain the program on their own. Thus, the state is not the power-mad entity you seem to believe it is.

    And finally, ” When people see how good the church is at running something they will want it to run other things. ” Huh? Churches already run things that help people–sometimes very effectively, sometimes not so much.  There hasn’t been some general outcry by the public at large that many current government functions should be turned over to churches. And most churches wouldn’t want that to be the case–most don’t have the capacity to take on more community programs than whatever they are currently doing.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “But churches should absolutely not be the only or even the primary source of good things such as low-interest microloans. ”

    They are the ones stepping up though.

    “What makes you think that they won’t fight equally as hard to get laws passed so that they won’t have to lend money to people whose sexual orientation (or religion, or lifestyle, or whatever…) they don’t like?”

    the blowback is already starting!

     everyone liked the idea at first, now it’s become an insidious fundamentalist plot.

    atheists could do this too. or pro gay rights churches.

    sgt peppers’ – “1. Achieving “humanistic purposes” rather than capitalist returns is one of the roles of government.”  where is that in the Constitution?  

  • Lori

     

    the blowback is already starting!

     everyone liked the idea at first, now it’s become an insidious fundamentalist plot.
     

    Are you trying to make a funny or are you really this thick? No one dislikes the idea. They’re just pointing out that your belef that a scaled up version of this idea is all that’s needed is ridiculous.

  • EllieMurasaki

    “1. Achieving “humanistic purposes” rather than capitalist returns is
    one of the roles of government.”  where is that in the Constitution?

    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    where is that in the Constitution?

    Who cares? We both said “role of government”. Small g, no definite article beforehand, international term.

    If you reckon your constitution requires a particularly narrow type of government, I don’t care. The role of the US Government specifically is a particular version or subset of the role of government generally. The role of my government is to facilitate bringing about ends that matter to the people. What the hell is yours for?

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Great idea! They’ve just reinvented microfinance, which has been used as a tool to help the desperately poor for the last several decades in places like Bangladesh. Google Professor Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank. Or Kiva.org.

    About time someone brought that to the “First World”…  we also have our desperate and poor.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Ellie- ” general welfare” means to provide for general as opposed to specific welfare. the laws are to benefit everyone not just one group.

    Lori- I don’t  want a scaled up version. I don’t want big business or the govt involved.  I like the program as is.  it doesn’t need ANYTHING.

  • Lori

     

    I don’t  want a scaled up version. I don’t want big business or the govt
    involved.  I like the program as is.  it doesn’t need ANYTHING. 

    So you think an organization with 7 employees is all we need? Even for you that’s pretty WTH? If you’re thinking that there should be little 7 person operations all over the country then you’re still delusional. It would take thousands and thousands of them to meet all the demand and that’s not going to happen. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    ” general welfare” means to provide for general as opposed to specific
    welfare. the laws are to benefit everyone not just one group.

     Okay, let’s look at this reasonably.

    Say I have car trouble. To fix it, I need $500. I do not have $500. I
    can’t put it on a credit card. I go to the bank and the
    bank laughs at me.

    I go to a payday lender. They lend me $500 and we agree that I’ll pay them back at the rate of $50 a month. They do not tell me that the APR is 75%. Or they do tell me, but because I cannot get the money any other way, it doesn’t matter.

    This loan will take me eighteen months to pay off, and I will pay the payday lender about nine hundred dollars. Probably they’ll relend five hundred, a hundred will go towards operating expenses, and three hundred will sit in a bank account doing no good to anyone.

    Alternate scenario. Same car trouble, same $500, same everything except there’s a microlender in town that’s charging 10% APR. I borrow $500 from them and we agree that I’ll pay them back at the rate of $50 a month.

    This loan will take me twelve months to pay off, and I will pay the microlender about six hundred dollars. Probably they’ll relend five hundred and a hundred will go towards operating expenses.

    And over the next six months I have three hundred dollars. I can spend this three hundred dollars on whatever parts of my budget I was skimping on to come up with the $50 a month. Let’s say those areas were food and entertainment.

    People who benefit in the second scenario who wouldn’t benefit in the first include the grocery store and its employees, the movie theater and its employees, a restaurant or three and their employees, the high school theater program and its students, and me.

    People who benefit in the first scenario who wouldn’t benefit in the second include the payday lender’s owner. Nobody else.

    How, exactly, is promoting microlending and prohibiting payday lending benefiting the few and not the many?

    (And do note that when I say a payday lender does 75% APR, I am probably dramatically underestimating.)

  • Guest

    My husband works for a payday loan company (corporate office), and while I’m not going to justify what they do, I’d like to point out that those predatory lending rates aren’t *only* there because the corporate owners are mustache-twirlingly evil. 20% of all their loans never make a single payment. In other words, they take the money and run. And while they will eventually sell that loan to a collection agency, they don’t go after the loan recipient very hard. (Though they don’t get to make additional loans from that company either). Another percent makes some of their payments before stopping.

    Another thing to note is that not making those loan payments, or making only some, will not ruin your credit. It doesn’t go down on your credit report (which for most people is already terrible anyway). But paying the loan off will improve your credit.

    That said, this company is seeing record profits (so much so I told my husband they must be secretly laundering heroin money), and I would love to see competition that really helps people. I hope this Grace Period lending works out, and I hope they don’t have to can it because 1/5 of their loans go into default (though there is the possibility that a lot of people don’t bother to pay their loan back at the predatory lenders *because* the interest rate is obscene).

    This company used to be more conscientious and not quite so profit-driven as its been lately. They weren’t so quick on the fees, or as aggressive about their loans. They were a lot more, “If you really need emergency cash and can’t get it another way, then maybe consider us. But only after you’ve tried everything else first,” than they are now. The culture is starting to drive employees away (including my husband, who’s been talking a lot lately about leaving).

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    20% of all their loans never make a single payment. In other words, they take the money and run…
    That said, this company is seeing record profits

    I’m sorry, but if 20% of borrowers never repay anything, and you’re seeing record profits, that suggests there’s some real mustache-twirling going on across the board. It means you’re leaving out some pretty significant details to bridge the gap between those two points.

    It doesn’t go down on your credit report (which for most people is already terrible anyway). But paying the loan off will improve your credit.

    …actually, one of those statements must be false. Either it will improve your credit, because it is reported to the credit bureaus, or it won’t go on your credit report, because it’s not reported. 

    For those not in the know, many payday loans are categorized as “secured” loans, in which the borrower gives the lender something of collateral value against the note; in the case of payday loans, what’s being given is a postdated check for the amount of the loan plus fees/interest. Now, if that post-dated check doesn’t clear (because there’s not enough money in the bank two weeks later) then the lender can pursue collections and the borrower gets hit from his bank with an overdraft fee. If the borrower has some sort of “overdraft protection” on his bank account (don’t get me started…) then the payday lender gets paid, and the borrower now owes even more money (loan, interest, plus overdraft fees, etc.) to their bank. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    guest- yes, the risks to lending to people with bad credit are high.  Alot of them have bad credit for a reason and often it’s their own fault.  Sometimes it’s not of course.

    ellie- prohibiting payday lending is a fantasy. They’ll go to loan sharks.

    How about we ban stripping so all those women can get less awful jobs? What’ll happen is many of them will go into prostitution.  two adults agree on a loan contract, that’s all there is to it. two consenting adults.

    Your scenerio is a great argument for what this article is about: eliminating usury or whatever you want to call it, high interest, from loans to the poor. You and I both agree the program described in the article is good.

    I simply added that I liked it because it was a free market approach. If this program spreads and works Payday lending will die on the vine of it’s own lack of utility. 

    sgt peppers- that’s your definition of  “government”.  I just read the wiki definition of government and it says it’s role is to arbitrate conflicts and enforce laws.  That’s closer to mine.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How about we ban stripping so all those women can get less awful jobs?
    What’ll happen is many of them will go into prostitution.  two adults
    agree on a loan contract, that’s all there is to it. two consenting
    adults.

    There is nothing wrong with sex work, of any flavor, whether stripping or sex for money, provided action is taken to ensure the safety and health of the sex workers. Banning any flavor of sex work makes things more dangerous for the sex workers.

    Your scenerio is a great argument for what this article is about:
    eliminating usury or whatever you want to call it, high interest, from
    loans to the poor. You and I both agree the program described in the
    article is good.

    Yes! Exactly! This is why there should be regulation banning the charging of more than 50% APR, preferably banning the charging of more than 35% APR! Glad you agree with me. Now go harass your congresscritters about that.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    sgt peppers- that’s your definition of “government”. I just read the wiki definition of government and it says it’s role is to arbitrate conflicts and enforce laws. That’s closer to mine.

    You’re pulling wikipedia on me as your source of authority? The validity of the opinion of some Wikipedia editor, or some libertarian on slacktivist, as to what government is for is no more legitimate than mine.

  • Lori

     

    I simply added that I liked it because it was a free market approach. 

    Your definition of “free market” seems to be “anything not done by the government. This is not accurate. Words mean things and that’s not what “free market” means.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    elli- no I totally disagree. if the church alternative loan program catches on, the Payday loans will be obsolete.  until then there is still a need for them.

    sgt peppers= well if you are going to get that far into it there is no actual definition of anything. I would say you are confusing society and culture with government.  

  • DavidCheatham

    The way it used to work: We would put our money in banks, and they would lend that money out to others, paying us interest for that, and collecting somewhat more interest on the loan. (Which was only fair, as there was more risk there.)

    But at this point, they barely lend out money at all, and the money they lend out is money they got straight  from the Fed, at very low interest rates. Holding our money serves no benefit to them. (As evidenced by them constantly attempting to tack on fees and whatnot.) At this point, actual banking customers are just a hassle that requires them to deal with people, and the industry is operating basically on momentum at this point.

    The entire premise of ‘banks’ is almost meaningless at this point.

    There are, of course, credit unions…if you can find one.

    Why the government cannot provide a ‘Here is a place to put your money’ service, I do not know.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Another thing to note is that not making those loan payments, or making
    only some, will not ruin your credit. It doesn’t go down on your credit
    report (which for most people is already terrible anyway). But paying
    the loan off will improve your credit.

    How can it improve credit at all if the loans are kept “off the books” as far as credit reporting goes anyway?

    You claim to be an expert on the industry down to quoting that 20% interest equates approximately to a 20% loss ratio, yet you state a contradiction not a couple sentences later. Actually I suspect the real loss ratio is lower and your husband’s agency is an atypical situation, exacerbated by the recession to begin with.

  • Anonymous

    It is glaringly obvious that this article does not tell the whole story.  Unless Grace Period is printing money in the basement or accepting grants from outside sources, it is financially impossible to lend at no cost, pay 7 employees, and break even.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, shucky darn and slop the chickens *claps hands to side of face* You’re positively scintillating! Why, you might win a nobel prize next!

    Gosh, could it maybe just possibly be that the founding church put up the capital and some of the operating expenses from donations provided by churchgoers?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori- If it’s a good idea it will spread in due time. If not, having our government do it won’t make it so.

    neutrino- indeed. I know what Mr or Ms Anonymous is saying but they’re missing the point.  

  • Lori

     

    If it’s a good idea it will spread in due time.  

    Again I have to ask what planet you’re beaming in from because you do not live on the same one that I do. I realize that it is a central tenet of your worldview that good ideas will always flourish on their own because the Almighty Market, blah, blah, blah. The English have a term for that—“rubbish”. I think “bollocks” also works.

    That is simply not how the world actually works. If it was there would be far fewer computers running Microsoft and that’s just the first example that popped into my head (because I’m using a computer right now). You are obviously free to continue to favor ideology over reality, but the rest of us aren’t obliged to play along and pretend that you’re not.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Starting a business carries considerable risks. Now one could argue that that’s the capitalist way – a business survives or doesn’t based on its ability to provide a product or service to customers.

    But just facilely saying “start a business and pay people more” slides over a lot of the in-betweens from A to B.

  • PJ Evans

    saying “start a business and pay people more”

    That’s right up there, as advice, with telling people who are unemployed to start their own businesses at home. The people who say that stuff never seem to realize that most of those one or two-person businesses fail. What they’re seeing is just the successful ones, and most of those are not making much money.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori- We both acknowledge that the church run loan thing is a good idea and REALITY has acknowledged it, if you will, as it appears to be succesful.  I’m not favoring ideology over anything, I’m saying if it isn’t broke why fix it? There’s a REASON why it’s doing well and that’s because of a myriad of things that can’t likely be legistlated and needn’t be.

    Neutrino- theres nothing else that you can do though. People have to work at whatever rate someone is willing to pay them or not work. I remember a few years ago during the boom years, 60 minutes had a segment on how entitled the younger generation of employees were, how they needed constant encouragement and stuff.  I’m sure they aren’t getting any of that now because the job market makes bouncing around from job to job much much harder. Now they take what they can get.   

  • PJ Evans

    People have to work at whatever rate someone is willing to pay them or not work.
    That’s assuming they can even find a business willing to hire them. Whcih is not easy.
    I assume you’ve heard about the businesses that are getting about a thousand applicants for each job opening.

  • Lori

     

    We both acknowledge that the church run loan thing is a good idea and
    REALITY has acknowledged it, if you will, as it appears to be
    succesful.  I’m not favoring ideology over anything, I’m saying if it
    isn’t broke why fix it? There’s a REASON why it’s doing well and that’s
    because of a myriad of things that can’t likely be legistlated and
    needn’t be.  

    Why are you not following this discussion? It isn’t that difficult. The reality is taht Grace Period is doing well for a tiny, tiny fraction of the people who need the service. It can’t readily be scaled up and you’ve said that you don’t want it to be. The only other way to meet all the need via this kind of program, with none of the nasty government cooties you hate so much, is for there to be thousands and thousands of groups like Grace Period. That is not going to happen.

    Grace Period is not successful because of myriad things that can’t be legislated.  It’s successful because it’s not being run for profit.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    PJ- no she was talking about wages of people who already have  jobs.

    Lori- “It can’t readily be scaled up and you’ve said that you don’t want it to be. The only other way to meet all the need via this kind of program, with none of the nasty
     government cooties you hate so much, is for there to be thousands and thousands of groups like Grace Period. That is not going to happen. ”

    Why not?  A journey of whatever begins with one step.

    daughter – “The state is all of us–we the people, and all that”

    The state is made up of various people, some elected and some not. They have their own interests. if you’re lucky they coincide with yours. point is It’s a form of government, it’s “the man”. It’s at best a part of the nation not the whole of it. We aren’t the police, they are guys who do that job. same with DC.

  • Daughter

    Chris, you really didn’t address the points I made. I only wrote my “we the people” comment because you talk about “the state” as if it’s some freakish entity with its own conscience, and not “various people, some elected [by whom? We the people!] and some not,” as you put it.

    But my points are: 1) government can and does share power; and 2) I don’t think this program, no matter how successful, will create a drive by average Americans to turn all sorts of services over to churches, for the reasons I’ve already stated.
     

  • Daughter

    In fact, the second recommendation of the President’s [note: President as in Obama] Advisory Council on Financial Capability is “Align with, consolidate and boost, rather than
    supplant, existing efforts of the private, for-profit, non-profit, and
    governmental sectors.
    There are countless
    extraordinary efforts underway, many of which need help achieving better
    awareness and broader distribution.” (Emphasis in the original).

    http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/financial-education/Documents/Principles_for_Recommendations.pdf

  • Daughter

    Just to clarify, the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability is the federal government’s initiative to support and strengthen programs such as Grace Period. And they specifically say that they are there to boost, not supplant, efforts made outside of governmental purview. They are definitely willing to share power.

  • PJ Evans

    no she was talking about wages of people who already have  jobs.

    Which and who? If you can’t do any better at replying than that, you aren’t even trying.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    The State, at it’s root, is simply people who have been selected, either by us or by people elected by us, to do various jobs.  Even if we are very happy with their services they aren’t “us”. Us is the nation, it’s customs and characteristics.  You could have a nation without a government (conceivably) but you could not have a state without people to govern.

    As for the state helping with this program, I believe in seperation of church and state :)

  • Monala

    So basically, you’re against state involvement in anything that helps people, since you oppose the state offering this type of program on its own, and you also oppose the state partnering with churches and nonprofits to do it. Have I got that right?

    So just say that you’re opposed to the state helping people on ideological grounds, rather than giving easily disprovable reasons (e.g., churches always do it better, people are clamoring for churches to take over government functions) for why the state isn’t up up to the task.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    PJ- she was talking about wage rates and so forth and I said if you don’t think peolpe are  getting paid enough start a business and pay them more. it wasn’t a example for reducing unemployement, it was about low wages.

    Monala- I don’t think the government and churches should work together.  Is that a conservative sentiment?