In February 2011, California State Assemblyman Charles Calderon introduced Assembly Bill 1158, which would permit payday lenders—suppliers of short-term, high-interest loans typically secured against a borrower’s next paycheck—to make advances of $500, up from the previous cap of $300. Payday loan recipients often put themselves in a financially precarious position; the prospect of larger loans, at interest rates topping 400 percent, threatens to trap borrowers in vicious cycles of debt. Two mon…

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