LENDING: Useless Usury Laws

With usura hath no man a house of good stone.

—Ezra Pound, Canto XLV

That line strikes a deep chord of almost mystical belief that is still embodied in today's anti-usury laws, which set ceilings on interest rates. All 50 U.S. states have some form of these laws. In an era when the Government counts on rising interest rates to cool an inflationary economy, they are bothersome anachronisms—or would be, if they were effective. In fact, most are so riddled with exceptions that they apply mostly to mortgage loans. In that field, though, they...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!