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Obama Hands Republicans a Weapon

by Keith Koffler on September 30, 2011, 4:48 pm

The Financial Reform Bill, which promises to be a political gift that keeps on giving to Republicans, has dropped its first neatly wrapped present at the doorstep of whichever GOP candidate wants to open it – a new income limitation on struggling banks that has forced them to begin charging customers for using their debit cards.

As anyone with a three-year-old knows – except President Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), his closest Senate ally – taking something away from people is a lot worse than not giving it to them in the first place.

People just love to use the debit cards for free, but the Financial Wrecking Ball Reform Bill the Democrats passed and Obama signed now limits the fees banks can charge businesses when the debit cards are used in their stores. So they’ll be passing their new costs onto consumers by charging for use of debit cards and trying to steer consumers into using credit cards, which are more profitable – and which BTW promote less responsible spending and more borrowing, which is supposedly what government is trying to limit.

Bank of America was the first to jump today, announcing it will charge a $5 monthly fee for the privilege of using debit cards.

This is the kind of thing that will make people very angry.

Sure, the banks screwed up with all those easy mortgage loans, behavior of course facilitated and even prompted by the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, all causes especially dear to Democrats.

But what are we supposed to do now, with banks struggling, punish them for their mistakes? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Who’s going to give you a loan, grandma? Her money was in her home, which now isn’t worth more than one of her blueberry pies.

The Dems’ response to their mistake is to blame the victim. Said Durbin, author of the offending provision, which was reportedly inserted in the bill at the request of big retailers who hate paying the banks.

After years of raking in excess profits off an unfair and anticompetitive interchange system, Bank of America is trying to find new ways to pad their profits by sticking it to its customers. It’s overt, unfair, and I hope their customers have the final say.

But Republicans have a real opportunity here to frame the problem as a result of the regulatory orgy that has occurred under Obama. They have the upper hand: Consumers are inclined to see this as just another unpleasant feature of the Obama economy

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosie September 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm

So now, the price of all retail goods will be lowered? I don’t think so. Retailers will be pocketing all the fees they don’t have to pay the banks.
This is called redistribution of wealth from banks to Walmart and consumers are screwed.

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Keith Koffler October 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Right. Somebody must have made a campaign contribution.

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Rosie October 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Sorry – wrong retailer, just read Durbin’s good friend is the CEO of Walgreens.

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Death Ray October 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

“But what are we supposed to do now, with banks struggling, punish them for their mistakes?”

Did a conservative actually write this? It’s always amusing to see the polarity of an ideology flip for convenience’s sake.

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Star September 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Sixty bucks a year–may not sound like a ton, but when internet webmasters now think $3 is a reasonable amt to pay for a 500-word story or blog entry–sixty bucks is in a different context.

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Susan September 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Can’t blame this one entirely on Obama. The Republicans don’t have clean hands with Frank-Dodd. Three RINOs — Scott Brown and the Maine twins, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — jumped on board with Obama to pass that 2,000 page bill that gave the executive branch control of the financial industry.

If we don’t send the RINOs packing along with the Democrats, and elect a conservative president who will work to repeal this monstrosity, this country is finished.

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Winghunter September 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm

So, Susan considers Brown, Snowe & Collins as Republicans??

ROFL!

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Susan September 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Those three are establishment Republicans, and the party has a good share of them. Have to admit I donated to Scott Brown’s campaign and was thrilled when he beat Martha Coakley, but he is a big disappointment. When he disavowed the Tea party after he was elected, it was a real slap in the face. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund is the only PAC I send my hard earned dollars to now.

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Janice/Granny Jan September 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I’ll vote for Brown and might even send him money if the alternative is Elizabeth Warren. This is Massachusetts. He’ll always be better than any Democrat. I feel lucky to have any Republican in an elected office here. Usually I vote only every four years because it’s a one party state.

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Susan September 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I don’t blame you Janice. Conservatives are rarer than hen’s teeth up North. Anybody would be better than Elizabeth Warren. She’s downright scary.

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Janice/Granny Jan October 1, 2011 at 2:13 am

I forgot about Romney. He never did anything for Republicans here.
When he started his term there were 12 Republican legislators and 6 when he finished. Part of that was because of Bush but Romney was only out for himself. He did lower taxes, though.

I don’t follow MA politics living in WMass and having satelitte tv with no Boston stations. I only became aware of Scott Brown one week before the election. I never expected much from him. He’s kept a low profile lately. I didn’t like his book revelations or his even writing a book. So politiciany.

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Susan October 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

While I plan on voting for whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be, there are several I won’t vote for in the primary. Romney is out because of Romneycare. Christie is another no vote. Liked his YouTube moments but once I started looking into his policies, he leaves a lot to be desired. The Bush family, the patriarchs of the establishment Republicans, are pushing him to run because their guy Huntsman isn’t getting any traction.

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srdem65 September 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm

The Repubs would have to explain the whole banking reform bill to the voters and hope they don’t fall asleep or change the channel before they get to the part where the Dems screwed up..
And, it would probably be a waste of time because “everybody” hates the banks, knows they’re rolling in cash, and will screw us over any chance they get.

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CCG September 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

The Repubs need to get the message out right now and own it. The stores will be charging you to use your debit card due to legislation passed by the dems on bank reform. Just keep telling it again and again and again. **Funny – the Vietnamese manicurists always tack on the charge to use my credit card.

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Star October 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Paying to access our own money…very uncool. Where is that mattress again?

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Winghunter September 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm

After we’ve had the chance to push out the Comrades as well as the RINOs, there’s a considerable amount of prison space to be filled with bankers as well as elected official traitors.

We will have trials for traitors!

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Robin October 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Exactly which bankers would you jail? The ones who were forced to give out shaky mortgages because of the Community Redevelopment Act or the ones that are forced to raise their fees due to the Dodd bill? As an investor with a few banks in my portfolio they are doing what we want them to do, make a profit. Where else should they be making their money from? As a consumer you want everything to be free but someone has to pay the freight.

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Death Ray October 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

Robin-

I’m a bit disappointed to see that the CRA myth regarding the housing bubble didn’t die with the Birther movement (although it always shows signs of life here). The Fed and the FDIC both examined this claim and found that the CRA did not contribute significantly to the (Bubble Burst? The Heart Attack? What the hell are we calling the Extinction Level Event that started all this? It needs a name like “9/11″), as most subprime lenders were not covered by the CRA.

As for Dodd Frank, the legislation doesn’t mandate the $5.00 fees the banks are charging. That is your bank’s decision. Those debit card transactions cost the banks pennies, like sending an e-mail. The fees are purely for profit. And if it means that we have to hold our banks accountable for their own greed for once, so be it. The merchants were already passing the cost of swipe fees back to you.

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Robin October 4, 2011 at 10:00 am

The CRA myth as you call it is not a myth. In order to spur the reluctant banks to lend to less than stellar creditors, Fannie and Freddie guarenteed to buy the shaky loans. As soon as they did, guess what happened? All of a sudden there were millions of shaky loans. So, again, governments involvement created a cascade of unintended consequences that left us in worse shape then we started.

As to the swipe fees, are you mad at retailers for not lowering their prices by the reduction in swipe fees they are being charged?

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Brandon Moore October 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

Just an Inquiry…. What part of this mess did David Cote (CEO Honeywell) have to do with this, another solid Republican(RINO) sitting on Obama’s Financial Reform board. Sounds like some of his fingerprints are all over this.

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Michelle October 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Struggling banks??!!!
LMFAO

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