John Oliver Took The Parasitic Payday Loan Industry To The Woodshed On ‘Last Week Tonight’

By: 08.11.14  •  41 Comments
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Back when I was in college and desperate for money, I took out a payday loan — maybe even two, I can’t recall exactly, it’s all a bit of a fog now. But I do remember that the loan (or loans) was for $100 and I wound up having to pay back something like $300. So yeah, my personal opinion of payday loan operations has always been a little divided — on the one hand I was provided with some quick, easy relief so I could feed myself for a few days, but on the other hand I feel like I was fleeced at a time when I was arguably most vulnerable: when I was dead broke.

That said, it’s hard to feel any sympathy at all for the industry after watching the Last Week Tonight clip embedded above. As Oliver points out, what they do is essentially legalized loan-sharking, with the industry well-protected by shady lobbyists and politicians who have no qualms about appearances or conflicts of interest. Finally, Sarah Silverman comes in near the end of the segment to remind anyone thinking of taking out a payday loan why it’s a terrible idea. Enjoy.

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