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<Are there actually any usury (sp?) laws in the US, or is that just a little white lie they taught me in college?>

How long ago were you in college? Yes, there did used to be usury laws. As I recall, they were state laws, but most of them went the way of the dodo during the inflation of the early 80s. Interest rates were so high then that CCs, banks, etc., couldn't make a profit on the interest they were charging. That's the story they used, anyway. You'll notice, however, that when inflation came down, CC rates didn't necessarily follow.
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