J.D. Vance on payday lending

J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, which I read last week and recommend (reviews: Aaron Renn, City Journal; Robert Pondiscio, U.S. News) is not as political a book as the early reviewers made it sound, and Vance takes an unsentimental view of the unlikeliness of political solutions to cure the cultural ills of families and communities he knows from his youth. Here and there he does have a few words to say about laws, though. From Helen Dale’s review in the London Spectator:

He points out – with his poor credit history – that he has had recourse to payday lenders. On one occasion, he avoided a large overdraft fee. Without a payday lender, he’d have been forced to go to a loan shark – which, given the drug culture among poor whites, could have been injurious to his health.

‘The legislators debating the merits of payday lending didn’t mention situations like that,’ he notes. ‘The lesson? Powerful people sometimes do things to help people like me without really understanding people like me’.

One Comment

  • As Labor and Employment counsel to Woolworth, I was constantly amazed by the lack of awareness of the realities facing the low income weekly or hourly wage earner by executives and politicians. They couldn’t begin to comprehend life budgeted from one week to the next, to the fact that many have no bank accounts, that if paid by check they need the check cashing outlets that exist in poor areas, that they don’t have access to lines of credit, etc.. It was inconceivable to the “elite” that a broken radiator hose can cause a fiscal crisis in some families. These concepts were wanting in so many persons of power in politics and or business as to defy imagination . There should be a required course in these things in business schools and political science, but to too many of them they consider it a waste of time.
    They believe they know how things should be in their Utopia, and ignore what exists in the real world of every day life.