When they can’t convince Americans that having fewer choices is a better deal, paper-pushing paternalists get crafty. Unable to take “unhealthy” snacks away, nanny legislators have put their heads together and produced a list of ways to deter us from cheeseburgers and cupcakes: fat taxes, in-your-face calorie counts—even weight limits for eating at restaurants.
Some bureaucrats simply cannot rest until Americans are convinced that we need more laws to protect us from ourselves. But apparently, dictating our diets is not enough: More and more politicians are adopting the lousy habit of injecting themselves in your personal finances.
Taking after the meddling bureaucrats in Virginia and South Carolina, Colorado Rep. Mark Ferrandino has jumped on the self-righteous bandwagon and introduced a bill against the payday lending industry.
Ferrandino’s bill—which would cap interest rates for payday lenders so low that they could not possibly afford to continue operations—passed in the House and moved to the Senate, where it was amended by Sen. Jennifer Veiga. In an effort to avoid the loss of 1,800 jobs that would result if these businesses left Colorado, Veiga shortened the maximum loan period from 30 to seven days. When news of this reached House, Rep. Ferrandino pounded his fist:
“I want real reform,” he said. “If it doesn’t come to that, I don’t think it’s a bill we want to pass.”
What would Ferrandino consider “real reform” of the payday lending industry? Complete annihilation? In addition to making it more likely that the payday loan option would remain available to Coloradoans, Sen. Veiga’s amendment includes a 10-cent surcharge on each loan to fund financial literacy programs.
If making consumers better able to manage their debts isn’t “real reform,” we don’t know what is.