Letter to the Editor

Missouri's own financial crisis

Friday, December 23, 2011

In his Dec. 8 column, Wayne Bowen discusses the European debt crisis and lessons Americans can learn from it. I believe a European-caliber financial crisis is closer to Missouri than Mr. Bowen realizes. Some European nations borrowed too much and too often, and when their economies started to fail, they borrowed some more. Imagine the crisis they'd be in now if, as soon as they started to recover, the banks cut them off completely. Well, that's exactly the quagmire that Missouri faces if the misleadingly labeled Payday Loan Ballot Initiative passes.

As we begin to turn the tide on Missouri's economy, it's essential that small-business owners come back and create jobs. The ballot initiative would take away their access to reliable forms of credit, such as traditional installment loans. For decades, these loans have given Missourians the ability to build financial security and keep businesses afloat during tough economic times. If we take away access to these loans, we send a message to business owners that we don't have faith in their ability to succeed. We also choke off the flow of income from customers who use these loans to buy the businesses' goods and services.

As is the case in Europe, it's time to encourage conservative spending and careful borrowing. But we must not discourage our state's innovators from believing that one can achieve anything in this country. If we deprive ourselves of the American dream, we'll find ourselves in our homegrown version of the European debt crisis.

EVA WILKINSON, Cape Girardeau