Capping Credit Card Rates: How Usury Undermines Democracy & Capitalism

The biggest banks in the United States have been engaging in practices designed to nudge US economic policy and banking regulation toward permitting nearly any sort of interest-rate manipulation and ignoring, or erasing, necessary anti-usury laws. It’s been part of a concerted effort to try to shape policy to make it easier for banks to come into fresh money and claim new levels of profit from what would otherwise be considered escalating risk.

We are often told it is the borrower who is responsible for all choices involved in any lending relationship. Taken dispassionately, this seems an odd analysis, considering the relationship cannot begin if the lender does not voluntarily choose to lend to that particular borrower. Banks argue that they attempt to allow credit to “flow” to as many borrowers as possible, in the interest of the general welfare, but that they must impose strict disincentives on borrowing beyond one’s means, such as penalties and aggressively escalating punitive interest rates for borrowers with poor credit or who fail to pay on time, even once.

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