When a politician starts talking about banning payday loans, it’s usually one of four reasons that motivates him. In each case, however, the consumer loses because they have a credit option ripped away from them against their will. Citizens lose also, because it means thousands of lost jobs and state revenue.

The case of Gordon “Job Killer’ Hintz of the Wisconsin Assembly has puzzled me because I wasn’t able to figure out why he wanted to to kill 3,462 Wisconsin jobs, suck $135 million in labor income out of those jobs, wipe out $214 million in Gross State Product, and deprive Wisconsin of $59 million in state tax revenue.

At first, I wondered if it was because he was just mistaken on the facts. After all, I wrote to him earlier this year asking why he wanted to ban payday loans. When he replied with some unrepresentative data coupled with a sarcastic tone, I thought this might be the explanation. But I sent him a bevy of material disproving all the myths about payday loans and why banning them would harm consumers.

He didn’t respond, so that meant he was ignoring the facts — never a good sign.

So maybe he had a family member who had a bad experience with payday loans. He’s never said anything about that in the media, though, so I threw out that explanation.

I thought he might be an ideologue, which is true about twenty percent of the time. I thought that might be the motive, but when I checked the Job Killer’s voting record, it didn’t scream “rank partisan”. Some of his votes were bad for Wisconsin, but not ideological.

That leaves one last possibility: he’s grandstanding. Now some politicians are born to grandstand. Most, however, do so because they want something. West Virginia had an activist AG who wanted to be governor. We certainly saw that with Eliot Spitzer.

So what does Job Killer Hintz want? I did some digging and talked to some folks up in Wisconsin and, sure enough, Hintz does want something.

Democratic sources tell me that Hintz is using the payday loan issue to make a name for himself in the Legislature, and run for Assembly Speaker.

Ah ha! Now we have our answer. Hintz is a relative newbie to the legislature. He’s managed to weasel his way to the Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee and, how convenient, he immediately jumps on payday lenders to gussy up his rep.

Sheesh. What a publicity hog. And what a mistake.

What Hintz doesn’t realize is that, according to these same sources, a lot of his colleagues in the Legislature cannot abide his self-important, self-aggrandizing, intellectually superior attitude. If he wants to survive and make a name for himself, there are ways to do it without alienating one’s peers.

If Hintz truly wants to make a name for himself, he should do so in a manner becoming an elected official — one that doesn’t blatantly stink of ambition. If he wants to make an issue out of payday loans, he could do so just as easily by introducing common sense consumer protections. Why ban the product outright? In case he hasn’t heard, there’s a huge middle ground between banning something and having it unregulated.

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