By Dave Johnson
If you can lure people into borrowing then you own them, sometimes literally—it’s a game as old as money itself.
Regular people don’t know much about money, loan terms or the trap of debt-slavery. This enables predators to dangle loans in front of desperate people and entrap them into various forms of financial and even actual servitude. Again and again schemes and scams pop up that trick people into borrowing. Of course, we all know how the credit-card trap has ensnared millions. Car loan terms have gone from two to three and now as long as five or even six years because people think a lower monthly payment is a good thing. In recent years we’ve seen “subprime” mortgages and payday lenders entrap borrowers. Now there is a new predatory lending scheme in operation called “workplace loans.” Keep an eye out for this, it is just one more way for the financial industry to lure workers into debt slavery.
But also keep an eye out for a different form of workplace loan that can actually help employees.
Yesterday: Payday Loans
These are tough times for a large number of people. By some estimates as many as 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck some or all of the time, if this is defined as not having enough savings to live for at least six months. Some surveys show that 40% of Americans have less than $500 in savings. This means they are one car breakdown away from needing an emergency loan.
These are the very people who are poor credit risks and cannot get loans from the usual sources. So they often turn to “payday lenders.” Payday loans can have an interest rate up to 500%. They charge very high interest rates for short-term loans, often trapping people into a vicious debt spiral, borrowing to pay the interest on earlier borrowing while money for food and rent disappears. These lenders charge 15% or more for a two-week loan. That’s not 15% per year, that’s 15% for two weeks.