Some believed narrow control of the House and Senate would moderate the Biden administration.
Unfortunately, progressive policies are being thrust into the forefront. The Democrats’ massive infrastructure spending bill is light on infrastructure and heavy on top priorities for liberal climate change activists. The Biden administration's budget includes massive tax increases. Prominent Senate progressives, like Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are pushing for significant new credit card regulations and price controls.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), along with the rest of the Republican caucus, must continue to stand against these dangerous policies.
Let’s look at the effort to regulate your credit card. In 2011, a bipartisan coalition of Senators failed to block similar regulations on debit cards. Unfortunately, those price controls, part of the disastrous 2010 Dodd-Frank bill, became law and consumers lost out while big box stores profited off the government-set price controls.
Consumers did not see lower prices as promised. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond found 77% of retailers failed to lower prices and 21% raised prices. Boston University found low-income consumers lost about $160 per year and Americans without a bank account increased by about one million.
The Durbin Amendment was terrible for everyday Americans. Giant retailers and a handful of progressive senators now want to apply those same regulations to credit cards.
A group of the country’s top conservative organizations, led by Americans for Tax Reform, wrote a letter to the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs to oppose the proposed credit card regulations. They wrote, “The expansion of the Durbin Amendment is highly concerning and would directly harm consumers during the check-out process online and in-person. Any Durbin Amendment expansion to credit cards and the costs associated with such a policy will only serve to further limit consumers’ financial choices and could threaten $50 billion in rewards enjoyed by millions of consumers and retailers who use and accept rewards credit cards.”
While these proposed credit card regulations would be terrible for consumers, the current system is not perfect. For small merchants, the payment market can be difficult to navigate. Payment options are rapidly transforming, and retailers have access to more payment options now than ever before. This increased competition means that transparency and education are critical for small retailers. According to Mercator research, 77% of small businesses understand accepting cash is not cheaper than accepting cards but the industry can’t ignore roughly 1-in-4 small businesses who don’t see it that way. Banks, payment networks, and merchant service providers should partner with small businesses, so they understand their options and make the best choice for them and their customers.
Fortunately, Sen. Cramer can be a trusted voice in support of hard-working Americans and against misguided regulations and government price controls. Along with other strong conservatives, he should stand against Sen. Durbin’s price controls and the entire progressive wish list.
John Hinderaker is President of Center of the American Experiment, a think tank that crafts and proposes creative solutions that emphasize free enterprise, limited government, personal responsibility and government accountability.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.