Commentary

Editorial pages blast Trump administration on predatory lending and the military

When you take break from today’s madness in Raleigh, be sure to check out a pair of powerful essays that blast the Trump administration’s latest skulduggery with respect to predatory lending.

The first is the lead editorial in today’s Winston-Salem Journal, which is entitled “Shady lender rip off soldiers.” Here’s an excerpt:

“Shame on the Trump administration for trying to make it easier for unscrupulous lenders to take advantage of military service members.

In its continuing crusade to dismantle consumer protections in favor of businesses — even shady businesses — the administration is proposing changes that would weaken a law enacted more than a decade ago after a Defense Department report in 2006 detailed how predatory lenders target military personnel.

Both The New York Times and National Public Radio have obtained documents showing that Mick Mulvaney, the interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, intends to weaken the law significantly.

The Military Lending Act (MLA) took aim at predatory lenders who like to set up shop around military bases, where they take advantage of service members, especially young, inexperienced troops on the lower end of the pay scale. The practice is not just a question of unscrupulous lenders’ preying on vulnerable service members and their families. As the Defense Department report made clear, the practice also threatens military readiness as it causes problems and distractions for service members.”

The second comes from Ned Barnett, columnist for Raleigh’s News & Observer. Barnett’s column (“Trump and GOP put high-interest lenders ahead of military”) appears in today’s paper copy of the N&O, but as is the N&O’s frustrating practice, isn’t yet online. Here’s what Barnett has to say in a piece in which he blasts North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry for spearheading the effort and taking big campaign bucks from the lending industry:

“If it’s a choice between aiding members of the armed services or the predatory lenders who congregate around military bases, the Trump administration is siding with the lenders by proposing to weaken oversight of the Military Lending Act.”

Barnett goes on to note that North Carolina is home to 96,000 active duty military personnel and to document the devastating impact the sleazy move by scoundrels like Mulvaney and McHenry will have on them.

The bottom line: This is a classic example of corrupt conservative hypocrisy at its worst. Let’s hope many more voices shown the growing chorus of opponents.

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