Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
A group called the National Credit Alliance, based in Ohio and operating here as Arizonans for Financial Freedom, plans to try to remove all limits on interest rates lenders can charge consumers in Arizona by using the initiative process to amend the Arizona Constitution. (Casa Grande Dispatch, Oct. 1)
Their proposal would void Arizona’s usury law. According to the article, Arizona has a 36% cap on what may be charged for annual interest. The proposed amendment would remove that cap and put all the cards in the hands of the lender. Proponents say the proposal is a stand against “socialism.” “Socialism” is a 2020 Republican-election-code-word for “Democrats.”
Consumer protection, a key element supported by Democrats, has been needed since the time of the Romans. We are all familiar with the dictum: “Let the buyer beware.” Time and the so-called “free market” have not changed that. Democrats believe that in America the buyer should not have to “beware” and that business should operate with integrity in the interest of both the business and the consumer. If it does not, the buyer should have some legal recourse. We have consumer protection laws because we have learned through experience that business is more likely to be fair and honest when it is required to do so by law.
Through pursuing this constitutional amendment, Arizonans for Financial Freedom seeks advantage for lenders at the expense of consumers — apparently their definition of “free market.” Democrats advocate fair treatment for consumers by supporting consumer protection laws and initiatives. If Democrats advocating for consumers is “socialism,” I’ll take socialism any day over “free market” usury.