From Benjamin Franklin to Ronald Reagan, key figures in American history have warned us that sacrificing freedom for security is a recipe for losing both. Unfortunately, that counsel seems to have fallen on deaf ears. A bureaucrat-knows-best mentality is spreading across the nation. At local, state, and national levels, self-appointed “experts” are lobbying to regulate the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the goods we buy, assuming that we are too stupid to choose for ourselves. These measures have created a slippery slope. And now officials are expanding their reach once more, getting ready to go after our finances.
Virginia politicians are poised to wedge the government between you and your wallet. The state legislature has crafted a bill to restrict the number of payday loans any one person can receive in a year. Why are lawmakers singling out these loans? Payday lending is a specialized service that is willing to provide cash advances to “high risk” individuals when no else will. Because there’s already a lot of regulatory red tape on these loans, the processing fees are higher than the rates given by banks to “low risk” individuals.
Virginia’s Big Brother legislation suggests that “high risk” consumers aren’t smart enough to handle their own money. These loans often help people pay for necessities, like housing and child care, when their bank accounts run dry. Deciding to “not pay the rent” is not an option. And now the legislature is planning to take away their only real choice. Economists project that an arbitrary cap on payday loans will result in countless bounced checks and late fees. And the financial burden of those charges would be far greater than the interest rates that lawmakers are claiming to “protect” us from.