Eric Peters came out swinging (T&D, Oct. 1) against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s effort to crack down on predatory payday lenders.

To bolster his untenable position, he cited the purportedly personal stories of happy payday loan customers submitted to the CFPB and spotlighted by a payday industry-backed special interest group in Washington.

Unfortunately, Peters failed to inform readers that hundreds, if not thousands, of the supposedly unique and personal payday loan-supportive stories he pointed to used many of the exact same sentences and paragraphs.

For example, the following sentence appeared in at least 49 different “personal” stories: “To avoid bouncing a check, I turned to a loan to help pay some bills. I found that it was a great choice for me and I was able to pay my power bill on time and without penalty.”

What are the odds that nearly 50 people would have the exact same experience with payday loans and express that experience with the exact same words in the exact same order?

This is no fluke. Hundreds of the stories Peters points to follow the same pattern.

Let’s be clear: Payday loans have annual interest rates of 300, 400 even 500 percent. Payday lenders trap most borrowers in difficult-to-escape cycles of debt. It is their business model to push customers to take out new loans to pay off old loans over, and over again.

Making every effort to protect its own greed-driven bottom line and exploitative practices, the payday lending industry cannot be trusted to deal honestly with the public when discussing the need for reform, and Peters should know better.

Karl Frisch, executive director, Allied Progress, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to hold powerful special interests accountable

Toward full employment

One of the most pressing problems facing our nation today is employment of poorly educated young men reaching maturity. There are very few jobs available to them.

During World War II, the standard of living increased substantially in spite of the fact that very much of our output was going to weapons of war: tanks, airplanes, guns, large and small ships, etc. Full employment was the driving factor. After the war, replacing cars, appliances and housing maintained full employment.

Most people believe government spending is throwing money down a rat hole, but building the Interstates Highway System was a real winner. The system more than paid for itself in the saving of lives and decreasing travel time. There are many people employed in maintaining this system and providing services such as restaurants, motels, gas stations, etc.

1. We need new system start-ups as per the IHS, such as rebuilding the railroad systems to eliminate grade crossings and routing the tracks around the cities. They should be double tracked to also provide decent passenger service. The best example of this is the high-speed rail line from Heathrow Airport to downtown London. This upgrading of the rail system will also take much of the heavy truck loads (which break up the roads) off the highways.

2. Bury the electric, phone and cable lines underground. Does Washington, D.C., which did this a century ago, deserve better treatment than the people in the cities who provide their tax support? This would avoid much of the grief we suffered because of hurricanes.

3. Extend natural gas pipelines as far as possible into the rural and suburban areas. Natural gas should be burned in homes for 90 percent efficiency rather than burning it in power plants and conducting the resulting electricity to homes at an overall efficiency of less than 40 percent. 

If all of the above projects are taken up, we should have full employment and the resulting prosperity again and avoid becoming a Third World country.

George J. Reed, Orangeburg

Focus on life that pleases God

More than a year ago in summer 2015, wonderful men and women who were Christians were meeting in Charleston to pray and read their Bibles when they were killed by an ungodly young man. And he has since been enjoying life even while locked up -- a bed, hot baths and good food every day since the crime.

He took away some of the choicest people in South Carolina who only wanted to live and work for their families and do good for others. That is why all of us need to be doing good and in church on Sundays praying for ourselves, our children, grandchildren --  and that we can live a life that pleases the great God of Heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ loved all of mankind so much that he took our place and died for us. In return -- in America today -- we don't pray and can't even read a Bible story to our school children each morning in school. That has been going on for more than 40 years.

The only time we even hear the word God or Jesus is in people cursing when they are talking. May God have mercy on all of us.

Mary Dunning, Santee

An honor that is most deserved

I would like to commend you on your article about Loxie Rael (T&D, Sept. 28). I have known her for so many years.

Her mother Helen Love was my closest and dearest friend. I would consider her as a sister because I never had one. But Loxie is so much like her mother.

Her mom was a loving and caring person with the best heart in the world. My friend died in 2011 after finding out she had cancer two months before she passed.

But I see so much of Helen in Loxie. She was so right in her article about her parents. When my husband passed away, Loxie was working in the probate office and helped me so much too. She is like family when she is helping you deal with the loss of someone.

That means a lot when you have to deal with all the probate issues and you really don't understand a lot of it. This was back in 1994.

So, I say, the honor she received from Orangeburg County Community of Character is well deserved. I love her so very much and am so very proud of her.

Loxie, I know your mom and dad are looking down and saying, "Well done, what a wonderful daughter."

Linda O. Ulmer, Elloree


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