In an earlier post, I wrote about how the media loves to bash payday lending because it’s an easy target for a lazy journalist.  It’s much easier to write an article about a disadvantaged person getting “ripped off” than it is to write about someone responsibly using a loan product.  The former generates emotion and outrage.  The latter is a more intellectual story.  Emotion trumps intellect every time.

But there’s a double whammy at play, because money is a very emotional thing for everyone.  Like it or not, money drives our emotional lives.  We’ve been taught to strive for it.  It represents success.  It’s something we can control, at least as far as spending it is concerned.  We compare how much we have to how much others have.  It is necessary to have it in order to get material things.  We always want more of it but it’s hard to come by.  We use it every day.  We see it wasted every day.  We say, “I would’ve done so much if I had that money”.  It is in our nature to be envious of those who have things we don’t, and money is the big Kahuna in that department.  Money and sex are the two things most often cited as causes of divorce.

So no matter how much you hear about money not being important to someone, don’t believe it.  Greenbacks are tied to our DNA, and our relative level of happiness.

Now we add a third factor: humans have an innate sense of justice.  If something feels unjust, then people will respond to the injustice.  We often will project how we might feel about a given situation onto that situation.  We’ve all been subject to injustices, large and  small.  We hate them because they deny a kind of universal morality.  It upsets our sense of order, that right is right and wrong is wrong.  When that occurs, we feel a loss of control.

So here come payday loans, and emotion trumps the intellect.

I believe that people see the high APR number that payday loan opponents and the media put forth, and that immediately triggers the emotional responses regarding both money and injustice, simultaneously.   With these two powerful emotions at play, it becomes nearly impossible to ask someone to then look at the facts.

Which is why the media loves this issue and why 99% of editorials and newspaper articles are negative towards payday loans.

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