Payday Lenders’ Creative Electoral Tactics

Who’d guess that my worries about the political power of the financial sector and Jaya’s concerns about misleading ballot initiative wording would converge? Easha Anard reports on the trend:

Payday lenders are spending millions of dollars to back ballot initiatives that challenge state restrictions on their cash-advance practices. . . . [In Arizona], Yes on 200 is financed by the local affiliate of the Community Financial Services Association, a national payday-lending group. . . . . [T]he wording of the ballot initiative suggests it would impose further regulation on payday lenders; in fact, it would roll back much tougher rules. Yes on 200 is promoting the initiative with a counterintuitive strategy: spending money on ads that depict payday lenders as unscrupulous. One ad says, “Arizonans agree: Payday lenders who rip off hard-working Americans need to be stopped,” and asks voters to support the ballot initiative.

Now those are people you can trust! No regulation needed for them.

I wonder if Bryan Caplan would consider those who want to regulate payday lending financial illiterates–and approve this “noble lie” as a way of promoting better policy?

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