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Bread for the World: Help Hungry and Poor—Yes on 21, No on U, No on 20

Bread for the World says our ballot measures include some literal bread-and-butter issues. The anti-hunger group’s leader, Cathy Brechtelsbauer, has taken a leading role in campaigning for Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans, and against Amendment U, the payday lenders’ decoy amendment to write unlimited interest rates into our state constitution. She reminds us that voting Yes on 21 and No on U will help poor folks keep money in their pockets for groceries:

The anti-hunger group Bread for the World, South Dakota chapter, is speaking out on several ballot measures that most directly affect hunger and poverty in South Dakota.

The group asks voters to support the 36% rate limit on payday and auto title loans. Brechtelsbauer says, “The 36% limit will be a huge help! Huge! We think a majority of South Dakotans wants a rate cap on these loans, but it’s a confusing, tricky ballot. If you want a real limit, not the fake 18%, then vote “No” on Amendment U and also vote “Yes” on Initiated Measure 21.” The group notes that Amendment U is backed by the payday lending industry to prevent limits. In effect, it would put a prohibition on rate limits into the State Constitution. In contrast, Initiated Measure 21 would enact a limit (36%) on interest and fees for certain types of loans [Bread for the World, press release, 2016.10.11].

Bread for the World sees an attack on working families in Referred Law 20, the Republican effort to cut the minimum wage for young workers. They remind us that every dollar counts for kids who go to work to help their families put food on the table:

In addition, Bread for the World-South Dakota is concerned about minimum wage in Referred Law #20. They urge a “No” vote on 20, in order to include young workers in the state’s minimum wage law. South Dakotans under age 18 who are employed are contributing to our state’s economy and to their families’ well being. Some need money for college. Young workers should receive the state’s minimum wage, which voters statewide approved in 2014, but which a majority of the legislature tried to take away in 2015.

Kristina Newling of Pierre knows about this first-hand. “I started working about when I turned 16. Because my mother is handicapped, I worked a full-time job to help support my family. I know many people who worked throughout high school. One friend was working three jobs to help her family. Some kids are saving for college or a car. A lot of high school kids are working as hard as anyone. So why should they get paid less?” [Bread for the World, 2016.10.11]

South Dakota’s ten ballot measures aren’t esoteric exercises in political puffery (well, maybe Amendment R…). The votes we cast on 20, 21, and U may affect how much food some families have to eat. Faced with such important decisions, Brechtelsbauer says we shouldn’t just “throw up our hands as though nothing can be done.” We can think through the measures, weigh their consequences, and cast informed votes “to help improve lives this year.”


  1. grudznick 2016-10-11 16:52

    There are too many of these insane initiated laws. Vote NO on Everything, it is the only way to be certain.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-11 19:35

    You continue with this lazy attitude, Grudz. Do you really want legislators making all of your decisions for you?

    Note also that Referred Law 20 is not an initiated law. It is an error, a political ploy that we the people can now veto.

    That said, Bread for the World agrees with you on Amendment U. Your glass is half full!

  3. grudznick 2016-10-11 20:13

    Plus, Mr. H, I am encouraging people to vote down BOTH of the protect-stupid-people-from-themselves-and-loanshark laws. So both halves are full, right?

  4. Porter Lansing 2016-10-11 23:18

    Is that Amendment U as in U for Unlimited Payments? VOTE NO ON UNLIMITED PAYMENTS or you’ll pay on that loan forever.

  5. happy camper 2016-10-12 08:49

    “So why should they get paid less?” They won’t get paid less if they’re worth more, the lower wage will simply allow the base worker an opportunity that may otherwise be eliminated.

    It’s so easy to whine for the poor look good but get labeled a horrible person if you question it. Outside of legitimate circumstances (like a handicapped mother) a lot of people are in their bad situations because of bad decisions made over and over. I just asked a social worker what percentage she thought were abusers of the system. Her gut feeling 35%.

    I’m lazy at this point in my life cause I can be although I’m not asking anyone for assistance, so I know lazy quite intimately. If there’s an easy way out humans often take it. I get queasy recalling that post on this blog about a guaranteed minimum salary for just being an American. Granted it was a pipe dream but just by the fact you would dream such a nightmare leaves me tossing and turning.

    Although usually free market, I do agree it’s probably better to put a cap on it although we should watch closely what happens. Hopefully loan sharks don’t move in to fill a new demand. Knee cap breakers.

    Doesn’t it make you wonder though if they will change their habits? Should money management be taught very early in school (if it’s not already) and would it make a difference. Bad money managers learn from their family probably at a very young age. Without a bleeding heart it would be interesting to read a balanced book on why people remain poor generation after generation. Because we learn so much from our family apples don’t fall far from the tree is often true.

    Why am I so hard core when I used to be like you? Because I’ve gotten to know people who make stupid, stupid decisions and don’t learn. Buying their kids cars, cell phones for everyone, trips, spending every penny and maxing their credit cards then coming to me and asking for a cheap loan. Unless it’s something understandable send the users down to the credit union and don’t feel guilty about it. The truly needy is an entirely different story.

  6. Craig 2016-10-12 09:07

    “a lot of people are in their bad situations because of bad decisions made over and over”

    Surely some are – but “a lot of people” don’t fall into that same bucket. There are hard working people who find themselves in trouble when a family member gets sick or their furnace goes out in December. There are financial struggles caused by chance rather than direct action. There are kids who started working at 14 or 15 just to help pay the rent for the family.

    There will always be those who abuse the system. You can claim 35% of people using social services abuse the system, but in the scope of things that is a drop in the bucket. We will have fraud and abuse at all levels – that doesn’t mean we give up. I’m sure there is a lot more financial fraud and abuse centered around government subsidies and contracts given out to large corporations and industries but nobody seems to care – they just don’t want someone to collect a social security check while they own the latest iPhone… because that is what we should be concerned with.

  7. Darin Larson 2016-10-12 09:27

    The focus on the abusers of the system rather than all the destitute people, family and children in legitimate need is appalling to me. Go down to the Banquet and see the people in Sioux Falls who are struggling in life for various reasons. I don’t think they are abusing the system. I think they would much rather not be in the system for the destitute.

    Craig makes a good point that I would reiterate: the fraud and abuse by large corporations centered around government contracts and subsidies is a much larger issue in terms of dollars and percent of the federal budget than the fraud and abuse in our welfare system. So many people focus on the small time “freeloaders” on welfare while the corporate welfare is hundreds and thousands of times the magnitude. No one says let’s stop awarding government military contracts because of the fraud and abuse, but they do suggest that we should eliminate aid to destitute families because some are abusers of the system.

  8. happy camper 2016-10-12 10:01

    You have to be willing to look at a situation in it’s entirety. The corporate welfare must end and probably why people like Trump cause he says he wants to end that. But the corruption is why people feel smaller government is better because it’s easier to manage. A lot of the liberals I know are very responsible and thrifty with money, and they I think imagine others to be like themselves but in a bad spot, but it’s just not true from my experience. I have had a window which changed my perspective.

  9. bearcreekbat 2016-10-12 10:55

    While many of us can fall into the trap of stereotyping groups of people based upon anecdotal experiences and factual speculation from people we know, it is often more accurate to actually consider factual research and findings before we form our stereotypes.

    Eric Schnurera of the Atlantic provides some research findings that might help overcome accepting the incorrect opinions and stereotypes of our friends and coworkers:

    According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the typical business loses 5 percent of its revenue to fraud each year. Even when detected, 40 to 50 percent of victimized companies don’t recover their losses. The industries most likely to be victims of fraud are the banking and financial sector; government and public administration; and manufacturing. I can’t quite figure why manufacturing is on the list, but it’s easy to conjecture that banks and governments are frequent targets of fraud because they’re in the business of handing out money. But as ACFE reports — and as we just saw in the Katrina example — it’s usually managers and executives who commit the worst fraud.

    It’s not easy to get agreement on actual fraud levels in government programs. Unsurprisingly, liberals say they’re low, while conservatives insist they’re astronomically high. In truth, it varies from program to program. One government report says fraud accounts for less than 2 percent of unemployment insurance payments. It’s seemingly impossible to find statistics on “welfare” (i.e., TANF) fraud, but the best guess is that it’s about the same. A bevy of inspector general reports found “improper payment” levels of 20 to 40 percent in state TANF programs — but when you look at the reports, the payments appear all to be due to bureaucratic incompetence (categorized by the inspector general as either “eligibility and payment calculation errors” or “documentation errors”), rather than intentional fraud by beneficiaries.

    A similar story emerges with everyone’s favorite punching bag, food stamps (or, as they’re known today, SNAP). Earlier this year, Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, both Republicans, introduced legislation to save $30 billion over 10 years from SNAP, purportedly by “eliminating loopholes, waste, fraud, and abuse.” Once you dig into their fact sheet, however, none of the savings actually come from fraud, but rather from cutting funding and tightening benefits. That’s probably because fraud levels in SNAP appear to be as low as with the other “pure welfare” programs we just touched on: “Payment error” rates — money sent in incorrect amounts and/or to the wrong people — have declined from near 10 percent a decade ago to 3 to 4 percent today, most of it due, again, to government error, not active fraud. The majority of food-stamp fraud appears to be generated by supermarkets “trafficking” in the food stamps. Beneficiaries intentionally ripping off the taxpayers account for perhaps 1 percent of payments.

    If these studies are accurate, they contradict happy’s friend and undermine the negative claims made about welfare recipients. happy has a right to be as lazy as he wants to be, but when his comments attack other people based on his laziness in determining what is going on in the real world, it seems reasonable to try to point out actual reality that contradicts the negative stereotypes.

    And if one of John Thune’s major pieces of legislation was designed to reduce SNAP benefits to hungry men, women and children, that says a lot about his priorities.

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