New state regulations governing payday lending institutions took effect today. Anyone who has spent significant time in the Southside will recognize the importance of this legislation for our area. Martinsville and Henry County are riddled with them--driving through Collinsville, one can count at least 12 pay day lenders just in a 2-mile stretch of this blog's namesake.
Whenever I am asked why am I a Democrat I have a simple response: Government should help people help themselves. When it comes to ending poverty, however, there is no clear path to do this.
Sometimes the human cost of this economy gets lost in the background; coverage of bailouts and blame-placing often trumps what is happening to those who were "the least of these" among us even before the bottom fell out. Recently, however, Roanoke's WDBJ7 reported on a story that will rip your heart out, and one that is indicative of just how bad things have gotten.
Last month, Representative Drake appealed to her audience's fundamental intellectual indolence proclaiming, "America does not lose wars." She remains as clueless as our President. In my lifetime, we're 1-2-1 and three or more remain on the precipice of failure. The War on Poverty may be our saddest loss.
LBJ failed to recognize that you can't fight and win two wars against substantial competitors simultaneously. FDR knew better, thus the Europe First strategy. Unfortunately, George W. Bush shares his fellow Texan's lack of strategic acumen. This explains, in part, his failure to get bin Laden or to have any success against two thirds of the "Axis of Evil." We can only hold hope that Obama will come to terms with what is our contemporary and even more significant reality now that American strength has been drained in a way unimaginable eight years ago. That very reality could sap the life from this promising Presidency. How he leads will mean the difference between a legacy similar to that of Jimmy Carter and a legacy of unparalleled accomplishment. But I digress.
Friday I listened to Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) deliver the keynote address at a Brookings Institute forum. On that I will report over the next few days; not possible to do it justice immediately. But as that discussion progressed, two things became more clear. First, in some perverted process, the War on Poverty was juxtaposed into a War on the Impoverished and imprisonment became a key facet of the fight. Next, Jim Webb, as Steve Jarding sensed before most, may be one of those men who appears once in a century to help steady the rudder of our nation's progress. Always recall Webb's invoking of Andrew Jackson's measurement of the health of a society being taken at its lower end.