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Only in South Carolina

March 13, 2009

Jeffrey Sewell

By Jeffrey Sewell – Editor-At-Large

Just this week, new unemployment numbers came out showing how dismal our state’s economy actually is – 10.8% unemployment – second highest in the nation, only after Michigan. And folks—drum roll please—we are number one in the rate of jobless growth. And economists expect it to reach 14% by the summer.

So why are there members of our state legislature who are openly working to put more South Carolinians out of work? A Senate sub-committee last Thursday gave approval on a bill that would, in essence, shut down the cash advance industry in South Carolina – a group that employs more than 3,000 people in this state directly, and supports another 2,000 jobs. In all, it generates $94 million in labor income.


The four senators who voted to regulate the industry to death would say they’re just trying to protect consumers. Bull. The House has already passed a responsible and comprehensive payday lending reform bill that protects consumers while not putting 5,000 more South Carolinians on the street.

My question: Why don’t they just have the guts to vote up or down on banning the industry instead of fraudulently going about it. Answer: They don’t want to have to face those employees in their districts and tell them they voted to abolish their jobs, so they just voted to restrict the industry to such an extent as to insure it’s demise.

That’s gutless. But it’s also politics as usual in South Carolina.

Related legislation:  S 0279 H 3301

5 Comments leave one →
  1. ElizabethAnne permalink
    March 13, 2009 11:05 PM

    Sorry, Jeff. These places are a disaster for the less advantaged-those out of a job-those that have been ill-those who can not make ends meet. Make them charge way less interest, so these people can at least pay the loan back without going without in another area. I do not wish to see the employees out of work. Heaven knows we have enough of that, but these operations prey on the ones who can least afford it. Don’t know why so many people seem to not get it.

  2. A. J. Calhoun permalink
    March 14, 2009 1:38 PM

    Great Job Jeff: So many people don’t understand the math behind APR. It is designed for YEARS not DAYS!
    Look at the earning before you put them out of biz for “charging to much”. SC’s own Advance America (AEA) earned $35.5 million in 2008 with 2797 locations. That is $13,765 per year per location, or $1147 a month per location! Divide that by 4.33 weeks in a month and they earn $265 per week. They are open 45 hours per week, that come to $5.88 per hour! How is ‘sub-minimum wage’ predatory!!!

  3. marlene, only in Chester permalink
    March 14, 2009 3:39 PM


    These places wouldn’t even be in business if our politicans had any moral conscience to begin with. But was we know, especially in Chester, the opportunity for moral fortitude went out the window long ago when it comes to politicans and morality. However, we have allowed this mess to go on and for them now to cry “fowl” is even more ridiculous. But as you “only in South Carolina” and as I say “only in Chester, South Carolina”.

  4. Maggie permalink
    March 15, 2009 2:30 AM


    I totally disagree with you on this one. Yes….I am conservative, but I have worked in banking in a small town that has experienced one of the highest jobless rates in the state because of the closing of textile mills. These pay day lenders do target those types of people…the disadvantaged. Those who cannot get traditional loans or often do not know there are other sources. These are worthless businesses and while I feel bad for those who would be out of work, I believe this state would be in a much better place without them.

    You point out four senators who are so called “regulating the business to death”. How about mention the money who have received contributions from the pay day lenders. That’s what is crooked.

    Other surrounding states have found it worthwhile and necessary to regulate the pay day lenders. I hope and pray that for once South Carolina can follow suit within a reasonable period of time instead of waiting and being another two decades behind like they usually are.

  5. David O permalink
    March 23, 2009 4:27 PM

    What is the difference between pay-day lending and the stimlus packages that have been forced down the throat of Americans. Here is your cake, enjoy it today. Don’t worry about the future. Spend Spend Spend!!

    Obama and his pals will be knocking on your door to take you paycheck, just wait and see.

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