This valley belongs to people who live and work here. Where are these people when the poor need them most? The business and banking communities have lost their moral compass and show little desire to find it. Respectable banks and credit unions are now trying to compete with the payday lenders in the financial rape of consumers. Leaders in education, government and religion have turned a blind eye.

In two decades, rent-to-own dealers, adjustable rate and interest-only mortgage companies, credit card companies and payday loan companies have begun to rip off the paychecks of ordinary American workers as savagely as any tyrant ever ripped off tax money from the citizenry. Payday lenders, while promising to help consumers out of a one-time bind, trap debtors in a cycle of repeat loans where interest rates average over 400 percent. Payday and title loan companies now colorfully advertise their wares on Utah’s city streets like twentieth-century, red light district flophouses.

Utah society can no longer be called democratic or Christian. Government gives tax money from the middle class to the working poor in the form of benefits like the new health care law. Banks then cancel out those benefits by taking away what little cash the poor have left. The benches of Wasatch Front are home to a hot mess of wealthy, conscience-challenged, commercial aristocrats who pay respects to morality on Sunday, then turn into vicious predators on Monday through Saturday.

Robert Shinkoskey

Woods Cross