Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
Akron Beacon Journal, July 1
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken aim at the usurious payday lending industry. That is a good thing, and the bureau … has adopted the right approach in seeking to ensure that lenders consider the ability of a borrower to repay before extending loans.
That seems logical, not to mention responsible. It departs … from the business model of payday lenders. The industry preys on the financially vulnerable and desperate in making short-term loans at astronomical interest rates, approaching, and even exceeding, an annual percentage rate of 400. The bureau has found that in Ohio, more than 75 percent of payday loan fees come from borrowers trapped in a cycle of more than 10 loans per year…
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau … must take an indirect route to discouraging the practice. Beyond applying an ability-to-pay factor, it proposes stronger protection for the bank accounts of borrowers and a cooling-off period of 30 days after a borrower receives three consecutive payday loans…
Without precise regulation, payday lenders will find their way back to business as usual. Modern usury will remain, keeping dim the prospects for traditional banking ever developing an alternative to the abusive payday loan.
The Blade, July 3
A statewide poll about what concerns Ohio voters showed that 18.6 percent of the 1,000 Ohioans surveyed claimed no religion, but they named issues relating to poverty and inequality as major concerns.
Meanwhile, only 8.4 percent of those who list a Christian affiliation cited those same issues as major concerns…
There is widespread concern that government enables the poor to remain poor. And while this contention is largely true, the study results still cast shame on the community that calls itself after its founder, Jesus Christ. Even members of other religious beliefs, 15.6 percent, showed greater concern about poverty and inequality than their Christian peers: only 10.4 percent of black Protestants cited poverty and inequality as top issues; 9.8 percent of Roman Catholics; 9.6 percent of mainline Protestants, and 5.5 percent of evangelical Protestants…
The Rev. James Bacik, a renowned Catholic priest, theologian, and retired Toledo pastor, said caring for others is among Christ’s commands. Not recommendations, but commands…
Have members of Christendom become so comfortable that their primary worry is “what’s in it for me and mine?” …Yes, Christ said “the poor you will always have with you.” But that doesn’t mean we should ignore or dismiss the poor because some take advantage of government programs.
Something is out of alignment in evangelicals’ thinking if the availability of those programs to the poor is foremost in their minds instead of compassion for the less fortunate…
Sandusky Register, June 27
It’s not your grandfather’s war on drugs. It can’t be.
Over the years, we’ve watched police officers and agencies fight the good fight. Get the bad guys off the streets.
We’ve also watched as the fight changed and law enforcement leaders, who see the casualties from the front line in the drug war, became advocates for recovery.
They still have to do their jobs: enforce the state’s drug laws.
But police agencies are now out front in a different way.
They save lives by administering Narcan — an antidote to death — to addicts suffering from critical overdoses.
They’ve become the ad hoc detox centers at their jails, where addicts who are incarcerated suffer “dope sickness,” as their systems begin recovering through a very painful withdrawal process.
Some inmates come through the jailhouse detox with hope, but jailers see them back again and again, suffering through the same cycles of returning again and again and going through detox without ever reaching any sort of sustained recovery.
Law enforcement leaders have become some of the fiercest advocates of recovery.
The Marietta Times, June 28
Those of us who own pets often say we consider them part of our family.
But first responders rescuing our pets from crisis situations, such as house fires or car accidents, haven’t been legally covered to provide basic first aid to those animals.
Now they can.
A new law in Ohio came about over concern about police dogs injured in the line of duty. Prior to the law, which takes effect Aug. 31, first responders would have to call in a veterinarian to care for animals, sometimes losing precious minutes in the process.
This new law doesn’t mean pet owners should call 911 when their pets are injured or sick. And it doesn’t mean first responders have to treat animals in crisis, but they have that option. Many are getting training from veterinarians in order to be better prepared.
It’s reported that as many as two-thirds of all American households have at least one pet. We are thankful for first responders who answer the call, bringing much needed assistance to people — and their pets.