1856 - 1924
"There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed."
The interim report is in and its worth sharing. While I think it shows that the country is still more balanced than either progressives or conservatives would like to believe, it also shows that 'ordinary' Americans are willing to make some surprising choices when it comes to defense spending, taxes and entitlement programs. As I'm finding out in other organizations and institutions, the rank and file are usually far more intelligent, and yes, progressive than their leaders give them credit for.
You can find the national interim report here. The results from the Dallas meeting can be found here. You can check the results from other cities where meetings were held here.
Hope you find it as interesting as we did...
You can listen to an interview with Rivlin here.
These shops aren't operating in an economic vacuum, they are the virtual 'branches' of the large financial institutions that have helped fund their expansion: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Wachovia.
Of course these banks do have their supporters. "Under certain circumstances, taking out a payday loan can be cheaper than other immediately available alternatives, advocates say."
""The industry exists because we offer our customers a product that is more desirable than the alternatives," said Rob Norcross, a spokesman for the Consumer Service Alliance."
And then, there's the flip side. "Brian Melzer, a finance professor at Northwestern University, found in his own study that the more people had access to payday loans, the more they had trouble paying basic costs."
""I find no evidence that payday loans alleviate hardship," Melzer said in his study. "On the contrary, I find that loan access leads to increased incidence of difficulty paying mortgage, rent and utilities bills; moving out of one's home due to financial troubles; and delaying needed medical care, dental care and prescription drug purchases.""
"Moreover, some borrowers take months to pay back their loans, paying high fees over and over. Based on data collected by regulators in Florida and Oklahoma, between a quarter and a third of payday borrowers use 12 loans or more in a year, Melzer said."
""It's a product that is very, very difficult to repay," said Don Baylor, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin. "It ends up becoming a much larger and larger burden on a household over time.""
It's apparently a challenge to get the attention of officials in Texas.
"The chairman of the Texas Finance Commission, Bill White, has served 25 years as an executive with Cash America International Inc ., a pawnshop and payday loan company in Fort Worth. Payday loan regulation is not a priority at the moment, he said."
""The complaints on payday lending are minuscule," he said. "It just has not risen to the level where I personally need to be involved in it.""
"In the wake of the severe recession, he is intensifying efforts to oversee banks, savings institutions and mortgage lenders."
""In times of stress, our main focus is to protect the public's deposits," he said."
It's a myth that everyone living in low income neighborhoods want to be poor. There are certain vicious cycles that come with low wages, living pay check to pay check that make an individual, a family, a community, vulnerable to predators. These businesses, which on one level could be helpful, trap low income and workers, and some in tough financial circumstances, in debt cycles that can be difficult to escape. Raising public awareness and supporting the legislation to curtail usury is critical in dealing with poverty.
I would be for taxing church property, if it means that religious bodies can have greater political engagement. And I'm sure 'Nemises' doesn't want that. Again, if the writer lives north of the Trinity River (or I30, depending on how where you define the divide), it wouldn't be happening if there were not greater, more substantive investment in southern Dallas.
And, I'm not so sure about the liquor issue. It's one way of breaking up the concentration of liquor related businesses in the south Dallas. Currently, I've not made up my mind. I'll let you know what I decide and why should this actually get on the ballot.
'Mike 1111' writes…
"We do understand we can't maintain the quality of our lives without paying for it and have decided to reduce the quality of our lives. It's our choice. When things get better, we'll increase the quality. I've done the same with my own affairs. Why shouldn't I expect the city to do the same?"
'Casey' is supportive…
"I'm with you, Rev!"
"Not a tax payer and yet he wants me to pay more in taxes. Let's make another proposal---tax the church property and all those "non-profits" run by the church."
I'm wondering where he gets the idea I don't pay taxes? EVERYONE pays taxes! In Texas there are property taxes, sales taxes and fees (taxes) - we don't have a state or city income tax. I pay all of them.
And Central Dallas Ministries is not a 'non-profit run by a church'. Our CFO sent us a report recently outlining the percentage of funds received from churches: it was less than 2% of our budget.
"And checking with the Dallas County Appraisal District The Good Reverend is not a Dallas County property Owner so a TAX INCREASE will be fine by him!"
Sorry 'Dochopper', you must be looking for the wrong 'Good Reverend'...I've lived in Dallas all my life and I'm a homeowner
From 'Oak Cliff Mom'...
"I am not paying for any more taxes as long as city agencies such as DHA and MDHA try to ruin neighborhoods by moving mentally ill homeless people into stable communities."
Another Dallasite who believes in ending homelessness in the abstract...
Thanks to all (even all of these) for taking the time to read and respond!
Suffice it to say, peace did not ensue.
"After about three hours of passionate but largely peaceful protests by hundreds of people who converged on downtown Oakland late Thursday afternoon, a splinter group of protesters, many wearing masks, egged on the crowd and ran through the streets breaking store windows, looting and setting fires before police moved in with flash-bang grenades."
"People started pouring into the intersection at 14th Street and Broadway after the surprisingly quick verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial. The former BART police officer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III on Jan. 1, 2009."
"Police officers, while visible and prepared, allowed the crowd of about 1,000 to block the street and set up a podium. One after the other, speakers grabbed a bullhorn to express grief and anger. Many urged the crowd to keep the protest peaceful, and by 8 p.m. there were only a few arrests for fighting with police and instances of rocks being thrown by a smaller group that tried unsuccessfully to march down Broadway toward police headquarters."
"But all that changed after dark. By 10:30 violent protesters had left a trail of destruction down Broadway and throughout Uptown, smashing windows and looting..."
It's important to say that all of this, the shooting of Oscar Grant, the quick return of the verdict and the rioting is wrong.
But it is also important to understand, that this is not an aberration in our country. It is a reminder of a justice system that still undervalues the lives of minorities even in a country that is 'post racial'. And it is also important to understand that this undervaluation of the lives of people of color can be seen in countless ways that make them feel as vulnerable as those who 'want their country back'. Because the 'return' being called for is too great a reminder of a return to days when the Oscar Grants of America can be accidentally (or incidently) harmed in inumberable ways or even murdered in the cause of making white people feel 'safe'.
The rioting, while senseless, futile and contained (not to mention the fact that it is violence and criminal activity that can never be justified), becomes ocular justification for crackdowns that inhibit, intimidate and feed the fears of other Americans who are 'afraid'. These are the bigots and racists, for whom it is convenient to hide behind the thick techno-curtain of the blogesphere venting their spleen against those who have been 'given too much'. This too would be harmless and impotent, if it weren't for the politicians ready to pounce on such idiocy to score ballot points.
It's this same fear that results in Arizona immigration laws that are based on a desire to keep our country 'safe' - without regard to the fact that it is nearly impossible to enforce such laws without profiling citizens.
And so we're all 'angry' and 'afraid'. Transit police who fatally shoot prone suspects, are 'afraid'. Jurors who rush to judgement, without due consideration of facts or the message of their verdicts are 'afraid' (if not just apathetic). Rioters who vent their rage in ways that make their protests exploitable by criminals and agitators, are 'angry'. The business owners whose livelihoods are at stake 'afraid' and 'angry'. And the citizens who watch in horror, are 'afraid' and 'angry' as we are all reminded that justice is something that sometimes eludes our grasp.
Fear is a real and useful emotion, so is anger. But they cannot be a justification for everything. Not for taking a life. Not evading responsibility for rendering justice. Not rioting, violence and looting. And not for the meanness, insensitivity and veiled bigotry and racism we see in our politics and culture today.
First Woman Secretary of Labor