For lack of a better term I am dubbing it Woods’s Law: whenever the private sector introduces an innovation that makes the poor better off than they would have been without it, or that offers benefits or terms that no one else is prepared to offer them, someone â€” in the name of helping the poor â€” will call for curbing or abolishing it.
Last time I noted the crusade against rent-to-own stores. This time it’s something you may not have heard of: the tax refund anticipation loan (RAL). It works very simply: consumers borrow against their anticipated refund from the IRS, and then pay the loan back when their refund checks arrive. These short-term loans ranged from $200 to $7,000 in 2004.