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The Usury Trompe L'Oeil, James J. White Jan 2000

The Usury Trompe L'Oeil, James J. White

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This Article demonstrates how the interaction of a federal statute passed in 1864,1 a case decided by the Supreme Court in 1978,2 and modem technology has legally debarred every state legislature from controlling consumer interest rates in its state-but not from passing laws that appear to do so-and has politically debarred the Congress from setting federal rates to replace the state rates. As a consequence, the elaborate usury laws on the books of most states are only a trompe l'oeil, a "visual deception... rendered in extremely fine detail ... ." The presence of these finely detailed laws gives the ...