Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: `Support the Troops' Should Include Financial Protection

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: `Support the Troops' Should Include Financial Protection

Article excerpt

Paying verbal homage to America's military service members is the easiest thing in the world for politicians to do. But if those politicians act in the interests of some big, influential industry -- say, car dealers, or payday lenders -- to the detriment of the troops, you can safely assume all their patriotic speechifying is bunk. The Trump administration is currently failing the bunk test.

Because rank-and-file military personnel tend to be young, with modest but reliable income, they are often exploited by unscrupulous lenders. The Military Lending Act is designed to counter that. For one thing, it prohibits automobile lenders from tacking financial products onto auto loans made to military personnel, since those products are often unnecessary and overpriced. And the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regularly monitors payday lenders to ensure they aren't violating the MLA by ripping off military personnel with high-interest loans.

According to The New York Times and National Public Radio, the administration wants to stop enforcing those protections. If the exposure of this attempt to sell out the troops doesn't shame the White House into backing down, Congress should intervene.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's regular monitoring of payday loan operations is an important deterrent to the bilking of U.S. service members. For example, in 2014, the bureau issued a $10 million fine to one of the biggest lenders for ensnaring low-income borrowers, including military personnel, in high-interest loan schemes. …

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