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Monday, May 12, 2008

Tell Your State Senator to Vote NO on House Bill 545

The Ohio General Assembly appears poised to create yet another consensual crime. The House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 545, which would set the maximum interest rate on short-term loans so low that payday lenders would go out of business.

If an individual decides that $200 right now is worth more to him or her than $230 two weeks from now, that should be his or her free choice. It's none of the State of Ohio's goddamn business.

Like all legislation that creates consensual crime, H.B. 545 would have unintended consequences worse than the "harm" it is designed to prevent. If payday loans are made unavailable, Ohioans will pay more in late fees and overdraft fees. Merchants' losses from bounced checks will increase. Maggie Thurber points out that "In both North Carolina and Georgia, the number of bad checks written went up after payday loans were similarly regulated."

Some people, unable to obtain short-term loans from legitimate businesses, might even turn to loan sharks. The state can make a product or service illegal, but it can't eliminate the demand for that product or service, and black marketeers will step in to satisfy the demand. H.B. 545 would create yet another revenue stream for organized crime.

Please tell your state senator to vote NO on House Bill 545. MyChoiceOhio.com makes it easy to contact your senator, and provides a sample letter. Another sample letter is available from the National Taxpayers' Union.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

There's Something I Kind of Have to Admire about Anthony Gutierrez

Let me first say that I don't condone drunk driving. Nor do I condone reckless use of state property. And I certainly don't condone sexual harassment. I can't emphasize that last point enough.

And yet, there's something I kind of have to admire about Anthony Gutierrez. Take a look at this passage from a Plain Dealer article:
The same woman says in her complaint that weeks later, Gutierrez fell asleep drunk at the wheel of a state-issued Chevy Suburban and struck a guardrail. She told an investigator that Gutierrez showed up at work the next morning, reeking of booze and with vomit caked on his nose.
(entire article here)

That's right. He showed up for work with vomit caked on his nose. A lesser man who had vomit caked on his nose might take a sick day or two. Heck, just feeling like I might vomit is enough for me to call in sick, let alone having my face encrusted in the stuff.

Sure, Mr. Gutierrez is a sleazeball, but I have to give the devil his due. The guy survives a car accident, has vomit caked on his nose, and still shows up for work the next morning, ready to do the people's business. That's dedication.