Libertarian blogger Ken Santema disappoints me with his opposition to Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans. He knows the payday lenders play dirty pool—he admits he himself fell into the payday-lending trap—but he mistakes that exploitative business model for a necessary industry:
I am going to vote NO on IM 21; and on the payday industries proposal in Amendment U. Many people don’t like the payday loan industry. But the payday loan industry fills a need in the market that unfortunately many people must utilize. I myself was caught in the payday loan trap for a long stretch some years ago. And yes, it was a trap. Yet at the time I had no other real option if I wanted to stay gainfully employed and make my vehicle payment. At the same time I wish the payday lending industry would stop with the dirty tricks in fighting against IM 21. It makes it hard to defend a position of No on 21 when the payday lending industry is making itself look just as bad, if not worse, than the cliché evil corporations many would portray payday loan executives as [Ken Santema, “A Look at Initiated Measure 21, 36% Payday Lender Cap,” SoDakLiberty, 2016.08.09].
As Mr. Spock said, there are always alternatives. If we let payday lenders portray themselves as the only alternative for the poor and unfortunate, we surrender to an exploitative business model that keeps people poor and unfortunate. Down on your luck? Behind on your bills? Ask your boss for help. Ask your friends. Ask your church. Ask your mom. Take that night receiving job. Or do without. Those options may be less convenient—the charitable options may make you feel obligated to return the favor when you’re back on your feet—but they are also less immoral and less likely trap you in dire financial straits.