Conservatives are Stupid: Here’s Why

From Veronique de Rugy over at NRO:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is at it again. In the name of protecting consumers, it would like to ban or heavily restrict a tool that is very useful to them. This time the target is payday lending – high-interest, low-dollar “payday loans” – that the federal government wants to regulate out of existence. Yet, no matter how horrible the well-intentioned bureaucrats at the CFPB think it is, the $38.5 billion payday-lending market is used daily by many customers for whom it is the only source of credit available.

I almost can’t even talk about this – it is just so blind to reality.

The article goes on to make all sorts of arguments that the payday loans aren’t that bad and that poor people need them. At the end of it all, you have a strong and vigorous defense of an institution – and a practice – which Progressives can easily demonize and which they can use to garner support among poor people. That Progressives won’t ever do anything to get people to a point where they don’t feel a desire to use payday loans is neither here nor there – by attacking payday loans as a blood-sucking “soak the poor” scheme, Progressives will gain support. Meanwhile, we’ll be out there going, “come on, guys; it’s not so bad”. We deserve to lose, we’re so stupid.

The reality is that payday loans are a horribly anti-Conservative thing. Conservatives are supposed to be about making things so that people can live independently of the ministrations of Big Government. This means we have to convince people that working hard and saving money is the way to go…not working part-time and using payday loans to even out the cash flow for immediate consumption!

I know full well that payday loans are often the only form of credit a poor person can get – but it is far better that they get no credit, at all, then get vastly expensive credit which is used for immediate consumption rather than long-term investment. Having access to payday loans – like having access to welfare – encourages improvidence. Such things make people less conservative in thought and action. And the only purpose of sustaining such things is – aside from encouraging irresponsibility among the poor – is to make a few people rich by making the loans. They do nothing good in a Conservative sense.

But the real stupidity here is that Conservatives don’t think – we see a business and it’s profitable and legal and we instantly assume it is worthy of defense. It doesn’t work like that! What is legal is not necessarily what is right. A Conservative response to payday loans is to encourage savings – figuring out a way to make saved money so clearly a good thing that people will want to save (you know, so the poor person will have $300 in his account when money is short for food, and thus won’t have to take out a payday loan). A major step on this would be, of course, to make real money again – gold and silver backed money – but that isn’t happening any time soon. But we could take a baby step and say to the Banks, “as long as you’re borrowing money from the Federal Reserve for next-to-nothing, you’re going to pay 5% interest on savings accounts up to $100,000.00”. Allow people to write off their taxes 10% of the amount of cash they have saved up to $100,000.00. Give EITC to people who make 100% or less of the poverty rate but still manage to save 10% of their gross annual income. That sort of thing. But whatever we do, for goodness sake don’t defend people can justly be accused of charging 400% annual interest! If the Progs want to slap another tax or regulatory step on payday loans, let them! Defending such companies is not the hill Conservatism should die on.

We really got to start thinking, Conservatives. We can’t forever be stupid – because if we are, then we’ll be living in the United Socialist States of America by 2030.

15 thoughts on “Conservatives are Stupid: Here’s Why

  1. Amazona June 2, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    You are right—it is an industry that victimizes the poor in the name of helping them.

    But it is not the job of government to act as moral arbiter. People have to be able to be stupid. If there IS legislation, it has to be at the state level, where the states can do what they want.

    A Utopian wonderfulness where somehow people who have never understood the concept of saving and have never been in a position to save are somehow going to become savers is not likely to happen. These people do not understand money. I don’t say that to be snide—they truly do not understand it.

    We would have to start educating adults who are already in the financial position of not even living paycheck to paycheck but living a week behind each paycheck. That would mean overcoming habits that are probably multi-generational and established as just the way you do things. If some group wants to address this as a civic service, great. I could see a foundation underwriting a program where users of these services are paid $20.00 each to attend a class that explains it all to them, but don’t hold your breath. I could see a non profit setting up a discount payday loan company that charges less for the service or charges the same amount but puts part of the charge into an account so after a certain number of weeks the person will have enough in “savings” to catch up and not always be a week or two behind and paying out so much money, combined with an education on how it works. But it still comes down to the fact that most of these people have no concept of money, how it works, how it can work for them and how it works against them.

    All we can do is try to get their children educated so they (1) can support themselves and (2) understand money.

    • M. Noonan June 3, 2016 / 12:07 am

      Oh, I know they don’t understand money – how, no matter how difficult it would be, to save even a mere $5 a week is massively in their best interest. How they don’t actually need all the electronic gadgets (yesterday, saw a news report of a terrible crime in a low-income area…every “person on the street” being interviewed had a wire coming out of his or her ear). I don’t think we need to go after payday lenders, but we certainly should not be seen as defending them.

      But we can come up with alternative policies which would (a) keep us clean of such entanglements and (b) actually start to help poor people become independent…and as they become independent, far more inclined to vote Conservative. Even the poorest working person out there could, over a 10 year period, save several thousand dollars (more with some of the incentives I’ve illustrated) – and once that person has that in the bank, calls for taking money from people will start to fall on deaf ears…and, in fact, on more strongly deaf ears among poor people who actually had to work very hard to save up a bit of wealth.

  2. Amazona June 2, 2016 / 11:16 pm

    Seriously, Mark, if you want to write a thread on why conservatives are stupid, or better yet how conservatives are stupid, there are a lot more examples than this one.

    The biggest and most glaring one in this political environment is that most “conservatives” don’t even know what the word means. They think that if they want to stem illegal immigration or are against abortion they are “conservative” and then they go out and fight to elect a president whose entire political philosophy is one of big government, federal control, and ruling from the top down.

    Defending payday loans is SOOOOOOO far down the list……………..

    • M. Noonan June 3, 2016 / 12:11 am

      I realize it is a relatively trivial issue – but it struck me hard when I read it…and also knowing that almost all Conservatives would just read it, nod their heads, and move on. But it is precisely in these small areas that we can start to change the popular perception of Conservatism.

  3. Retired Spook June 3, 2016 / 8:09 am

    Hey, I’m heading off for Kansas this weekend to meet up with my daughter and soon-to-be Eagle Scout youngest grandson, and then off by train to Cimarron, NM, for a 10 day, 70 mile packpack trek at Philmont Scout Ranch with two 10-man crews from my grandson’s scout troop. Needless to say, I’ll be off the grid (literally) for a while. Hold down the fort, and don’t solve ALL the world’s problems while I’m gone. And, with any luck, the world won’t collapse while we’re out there and leave us stranded. See ya around the end of June.

    • M. Noonan June 3, 2016 / 7:22 pm

      Have fun, Spook. I’ve got a lot coming up, too. Friend and I going out for some “middle of nowhere” camping in late June, then over the course of July and August heading out to opposite ends of the country to visit family.

      • Retired Spook June 4, 2016 / 8:23 am

        Be safe and enjoy, Mark.

  4. Retired Spook June 3, 2016 / 8:48 am

    Looks like I’m leaving on a bit of bad news. I’m not sure how much longer Obama can pull of this charade. 4.7% unemployment indeed.

  5. Amazona June 4, 2016 / 9:55 am

    I would not call Mitch MicConnell a conservative, but he is a Republican, and I saw him interviewed last night. I can’t stand to watch or hear him, but I caught enough to see him explain that no, Donald Trump will not destroy the GOP—it will still be here.

    The tone of his pronouncement, aside from being terribly smug, was also clueless. Yes, Mitch, there will still be a political party called the Republican Party. For once you are right about something. But it will either be a truly Trump party, which is to say nearly indistinguishable from the opposition, a party with the same basic views on governance as the Democrat Party but with just a few differences regarding issues or it will be a party stripped of the deceit, incompetence and general stupidity of the party that put McConnell where he is today and reborn as a conservative party. The GOP as it stands today is dead.

    He made it clear from his arrogant, smug and truly clueless demeanor that he has absolutely NO concept of the breadth, depth and scope of the anger and resentment this GOP debacle has created.

    On a similar note, Pat Buchanan, with exactly the same smug attitude of lecturing from On High to the ignorant little people below pronounced that now that Donald Trump IS the nominee (more of this Semantic Infiltration at work) and now that Republicans are “getting behind” Trump, the “enthusiasm” will build. This was after others on the panel (the McLaughlin Group) had repeatedly explained that so many who will vote for Trump will ONLY do so to keep Hillary out of office. Watching him talk, it was as if he had not been present during any of the discussion on the antipathy toward Trump. “Enthusiasm”, Pat? No way. The exact opposite is what you are going to see, as resentment at having our faces shoved in this pile of political excrement builds.

  6. Amazona June 4, 2016 / 10:16 am

    I am going to say a couple of things I never thought I would say.

    One is that Hillary Clinton made a very good and very compelling speech, and the other is that I think Republicans need to watch it.

    For some reason last night I picked up on a couple of political shows, if not in full at least enough to get a taste of what is being said by some talking heads and elites. Somewhere in there was shown part of a speech by Hillary Clinton that, if it represents her campaign, is gong to make it hard for Trump to beat her.

    She calmly, quietly, with no bombast or screeching, outlined reasons that Donald Trump would be a terrible president. The thing is, she was right on every count. That is a very scary position for a Republican to be in. I found her comment on Trump plunging us into war because he is insulted by someone whose comment got under his “very thin” skin to be less compelling, as while he does have the football at hand he would have to go through some steps to actually get us into a war, but it was still a good point. But she pointed out some—-just SOME—-of his defects that illustrate his lack of fitness for the office, and she did it in a way that made her very presidential by comparison.

    We need a candidate who, when attacked by the opposition, can persuasively respond that no, that simply is not true. What we are being forced to accept is a candidate who, when faced with a laundry list of very significant defects. can only respond with a version of “So what? You are worse!” and fall back on schoolyard jeering using schoolyard taunts.

    Trump’s BASE loves these taunts, absolutely drooled over the tastiness of “Lyin’ Ted” and think “Corrupt Hillary” is the height of scathing wit. The rest of us cringe at such low-class, infantile, ignorant tactics. We also realize that name calling will not win an election. Trump’s base can’t get him elected. In fact, a lot of Trump’s base is dragging him down.

    If Hillary’s strategy is to tone down her screechiness, become the Not-Trump by giving us coherent sentences presented calmly and rationally, while simply outlining what an absolute buffoon Trump is, while simply going through long long lists of his failures, his frauds, his history of dishonesty and corruption, his constant shifting of alleged positions in his frantic pursuit of support, it is going to be a very scary campaign season for Republicans. Trump is only coherent when reading the words someone else has put on a Teleprompter (sound familiar, anyone?) and is a loose cannon, whose only support from mainstream Republicans can be summed up as “Although we know he is a liar, we have decided to pretend we think he won’t lie about what he has promised us he will do to be less Progressive and less offensive.”

    • M. Noonan June 4, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      You’re not the first person I’ve seen who figures Trump makes Hillary look sane…but, do remember, “at this point, what difference does it make?”.

      • Amazona June 5, 2016 / 12:03 am

        I wasn’t exactly trying to make the point that Trump actually makes Hillary look sane, though it is a valid one.

        I was pointing out that she is canny enough to know how to run against him, and that is to appear to be the presidential candidate while he is ranting, raving, tweeting, attacking, insulting, and generally making the point for her that he is a loon.

        She has smarter people working for her, she has a ready-made portfolio of Trump’s sordid personal and business histories, she has the list of federal investigations for fraud and working with the Mob, she has his business failures, she has all the stuff she needs to make him, as one prominent conservative commentator said, “radioactive”, and she showed us the other night that she knows how to play her role.

        She is going to be statesmanlike, presidential, inspiring confidence in her better judgment, and she is going to push his buttons with great success. She’s going to say she has great relationships with all these world leaders, from her days as Sec of State (and Trump did praise the work she did) and point out that he has insulted and alienated many of them.

        While she is doing all this, and from what I saw is off to a good start at doing it very well, Trump is attacking a judge for his Mexican/Spanish/Hispanic ethnicity and implying that that is why the judge is acting unethically, which plays right into his other comments about Mexicans. And there is his claim that being a billionaire New York socialite meant that dating was equivalent to Vietnam for him and makes him see himself as “..a great and very brave soldier…” There are a couple of demographics now looking pretty shaky, and no, I don’t think saying “I love Hispanics” is going to make it OK. He’s already said that POWs are not heroes to him because he likes guys “who don’t get caught” so the claim that not knowing the motivation of the women he is bedding makes him equal to men who fought, suffered, were injured or even died in Vietnam is not going to help.

        (Speaking of veterans, recently when he was asked what ever happened to the money raised in that publicity stunt he pulled instead of going to a debate, he said the money had all been distributed, but later it came out that a lot of it was never sent till after he was questioned.)

        There is so much to come, such as quoting him saying that he was unfaithful to Ivana because Marla was “a great piece of ass”. Hillary is going to be well-coached on how to be the Not-Trump, and Trump can’t help but be Trump.

        It’s like being on the Titanic and having the captain and officers assuring us that ice isn’t dangerous, a little ice is no big deal, once we’re past it we’ll forget it was ever there.

      • M. Noonan June 5, 2016 / 11:00 pm

        That is about the only way she can play it: “I’m the reasonable one”. Anti-Trump PACs are already running ads here in Nevada – just Trump being Trump. It is effective.

        We’ll see how it comes out – as I said, I figure its only 30/70 that Trump can win this…and he does have to find millions of voters who don’t normally vote to pull it off. Can he do it? Not sure – rumors are that he doesn’t like nuts-and-bolts politics…and if he doesn’t give a lead (and direct resources) to such, he’ll have trouble getting those new voters. Right now, he seems to be counting on national outrage over the lousy state of affairs to propel him to office…if he pulls it off just on that, then the bad news is that all future Presidential candidates will go the demagogue route, at least for a while.

      • Amazona June 6, 2016 / 8:48 am

        I don’t see Trump’s appeal expanding. He seems to be playing to his core. That works for him, because he is in it for the adulation, the ego-stroking, so it is fine for him to keep going back to the core of adoring Trumpbots. He feeds on them, they feed on him, it is a happy little bubble of symbiotic ecstasy.

        But outside the bubble is where he has to gain ground. I may be overreacting, but to me that comment about the dating world in NY society being like Vietnam and making him a brave and very great soldier is so deeply offensive that I don’t see how it can NOT turn off millions of voters. The veterans, etc. who are already in the Trump camp will do what they always do and find ways to excuse things like this, or just overlook them, but once again once we get outside the bubble we find the people who still have to be convinced, and I think that was such an offensive thing to say I just can’t imagine it failing to have an impact.

        Attacking this judge on his hereditary ethnicity is so amazingly self-destructive, I can’t believe it is not giving GOP leaders second thoughts, but evidently they have their guy and they are not going to shift to someone less toxic and more reasonable.

        If you analyze his support it is all based on the concept of “I know he lies, but I have decided to believe him when he tells me __________.” That just does not seem like the best foundation for voting for the direction the country is going to go. “…. counting on national outrage over the lousy state of affairs to propel him to office..” might be enough to overcome someone who represents the status quo but that is a pretty flimsy campaign if it isn’t backed with solutions. Right now Trump’s “solutions” are all bluster and posturing, but getting Hillary out of the way would open up a pathway for Congress to act without fear of veto, and that may be the best we can hope for.

        Hopefully there will be an anti-demagogue movement in reaction to the excesses of the Trump/Clinton/Sanders circus. Not from the Left—it depends on demagoguery. But on the Right, millions of people flocked to support Ted Cruz, who fought to appeal to Americans on a different level. He couldn’t overcome party resistance and media sabotage, but he tried. And if he is in the Senate for the next six years, with others like Lee and Ryan and Gardner, and maybe Rubio, I think we are going to see a change forced upon the party from within. There is already a lot of upheaval coming from within the party, as I have heard party officials say they know the party is in trouble and needs an overhaul. Hopefully people like us can push it away from the populist-demagogue model and toward a party representing a serious approach to governance that is based on what is best for the country and not for a few elites.

  7. Amazona June 4, 2016 / 11:01 am


    Speaking of his dating days (which we know overlapped his marriage days, but that’s another story) Trump said:

    ““I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.””

    He’s talking about being a prominent New York socialite billionaire (who got a deferment to stay out of the military) going out on dates, folks! Oh, the horror!

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