In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, Oceania had the Two Minutes Hate which was a film of the Party’s enemies, usually Emmanuel Goldstein, and the citizens of Oceania had to express their hatred of this (non-existent) enemy. It was a way of redirecting the emotions of the people of Oceania away from Big Brother and towards an external source.
Today, Big Brother Barry has launched his “two minutes hate” against payday loans. He proposing new rules to protect payday loan borrowers from themselves.
In his weekend radio address, President Barack Obama says the goals of the new rules are simple: requiring payday loan businesses to “make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back.”
In Alabama, where the president visited last week, he said “there are four times as many payday lending stores as there are McDonald’s” restaurants.
“But while payday loans might seem like easy money, folks often end up trapped in a cycle of debt,” Obama said. “If you take out a $500 loan, it’s easy to wind up paying more than $1,000 in interest and fees.”
The concept behind payday loans is simple enough. Sometimes people have immediate bills they need to take care of, and need a loan until their next pay check. That can work fine, despite high interest rates, if people pay the loans back in a week or two — upon receipt of their next pay check.
Big Brother Barry is trying to address people who take out the loans and then keep renewing them from whatever reason. While I’m sure the goal is worthy, but there comes a point when personal responsibility has to play a role. The Federal government cannot be mommy and daddy to over 300 million people.
There’s a reason people take out payday loans and it’s not because the evil payday loan companies lure innocent, unsuspecting people in. People take them out because they’re cheaper than bank overdraft fees and they still get what they need whether money for a car repair or any other unexpected expense. Also, writing hot checks may cause criminal prosecution if those aren’t paid. I thought the left was against mass incarceration.
There’s one final reason that people take out payday loans and that’s because they don’t qualify for any other loan. Their credit is so poor they cannot get a credit card. They also cannot get other loans offered by finance companies. I guess the question here is why do progressives want to deny poor people loans?
This is all a distraction from the real issues. The Middle East is on fire, the Iran nuclear deal is turning into a joke, the war against ISIS isn’t going well, and here at home the economy isn’t performing. President Obama had a chance to address this when his party held control of Congress completely and when his party held control of the Senate more recently. Just as Oceania and Big Brother had to turn the people’s attention from their own wretched existence, Big Brother Barry has to turn the American people’s attention away from him and his failings.
Instead of dealing with these minor issues, Big Brother Barry needs to deal with the real issues facing the country. That’s what real leaders do.