President Obama! Explain this Political Policy Paradox!
President Obama has been pushing for new regulations on the payday loan industry, and has spoken out very clearly against predatory lending: "If you're making a profit by trapping hardworking Americans in a vicious cycle of debt, then you need to find a new way of doing business," but -- ironically-- one of his policies has caused people struggling financially to take out a similar loan . . . in order to "rent" tires . . . because the price of tires has increased enormously due to a 35% punitive tariff President Obama placed on Chinese tires, which were flooding the market and driving down prices (you can learn all about this by listening to Planet Money Episode 467: Tires, Taxes, and the Grizz) but the long and short of it is that the United Steelworkers Union lobbied for the tariff, and Obama proudly saved 1200 US jobs in the tire industry, but Planet Money figures that it would have cost 48 million dollars to pay those workers, but the tire tax is costing US citizens 1.1 billion dollars in tire costs, thus people can't afford tires and so are "renting" them from predatory lenders, being trapped in a vicious cycle of debt, and paying much much more for their tires than they would have if Obama would not have intervened . . . and so I wonder if the President is aware of this irony-- he's a smart guy-- and just has to live with the awareness, because saving jobs and catering to special interest groups is a part of politics, or if he doesn't realize the paradox in his policy and see that he's created the exact situation he has tried to eradicate . . . someone pass this post to him, and he can defend himself in the comments (but you better watch out for zman, Mr. President, his comments are incisive and funny and might be the end of you).