I’m With The Government, I’m Here To Help You


I wish life were a Jon Stewart show.

I love watching me some Stewart.  Now, I don’t watch it daily, in fact, I don’t watch it weekly, but I record it and watch 4-5-6 episodes a night every so often.  And I’m always glad I did.  He’s hilarious.  His comedic rhythm is very nearly unmatched, his voices are crazy funny and the physical communication he brings to his verbal communication is nothing short of perfect,

The man is mad skilled.

And he’s able to see the funny in the everyday.

Yes indeed, I wish that everyday was a Jon Stewart show.

Today, I have good news for you.  Today is a Jon Stewart show kinda day.  The day when you blissfully walk through life and the normal inane aspects of the day strike you as hilarious.  Simply hilarious.

So, we all know that the bankers on Wall Street caused the crash in 07 ’cause they’re greedy.  Right?  And after the crash of 07, the government bailed out those bankers in order that our financial system didn’t completely crash.  And, after getting bailed out by said government, those banks went on to report record profits and lavish themselves with more high salaries and bigger bonuses.

With me still?

So, then, in response to the unfairness of the whole thing, the government, led by the Intrepid Due of Frank and Dodd, crafted and then passed legislation into law that would protect the consumer from the predatory actions of those mean banks that crashed the system and then stole the government’s bailout money.

One of the things that said legislation did was to restrict the amount of money that banks could charge merchants for using a debit card at the point of transaction.  See, banks have record profits already and by the use of those fees, they were strangling economic growth at the checkout counter all over America.

Poof.  Just like that, the fees used to pay for the use of a debit card were sliced in half.

Thank gawd for that, right?

Wrong.

It turns out that managing debit card transactions isn’t free.  Further, that cost isn’t negligible.  And now that the banks are unable to charge the merchant, the banks went after another target to gather their money; the consumer!  Ahh yes, the very consumer that Dodd and Frank were trying to protect.  The irony is as delicious as it was unpredictable.  Certainly NO ONE would have seen this coming.

Dear Government, thank you for trying to save me from myself by passing ignorant laws that only make matters worse.  However, the consequences of your well intentioned law is that I am actually worse off now than I was before.  Can you please help me?

Love,

pino

And just like a great Jon Stewart show, the hits just keep coming:

WASHINGTON — North Carolina Democrat Congressman Brad Miller has introduced legislation he said will make it easier for customers to change banks if they aren’t happy with new fees.

The bill will modernize and streamline the opening and closing of personal checking and savings accounts, Miller said Tuesday.

“As megabanks flirt with menus of new fees, an increasing number of Americans will want to switch banks,” Miller said. “That is the way things work in a competitive, free market as unrepentant banks are still trying to rake in vulgar profits from their customers.”

With such flowing and beautiful language, I’m sure, just SURE, that this bill is gonna be a good one!

Miller’s legislation would allow customers to close an account without being charged a fee, even if the account has a negative balance. Customers would also be allowed to close accounts without actually showing up in person.

It would also prohibit banks from levying fees to a customer’s account after the account has been requested to be closed.

The great thing about great comedy is that future riffs are set up by hilarious content early in the show.  A great comic is able to set himself up for future use.  Most often this is done within the context of the single show and will have to be re-created for the next one.  But the truly great are able to so skillfully build content that it can span episodes.

This is one of those times.

I predict nothing but really great news for consumers should Brad Miller’s bill make it to law.

Okay okay okay.  In all seriousness.  I have already demonstrated that Liberals don’t understand things like economics.  So the fact that Miller is proposing this legislation isn’t so much surprising as it is an argument for better public education.

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6 comments
  1. I love The Daily Show. I am disappointed that instead of reinstituted the Glass-Steagall act they passed the Dodd-Frank legislation. Because of the lack of regulation, this led to the selling of derivatives and the subprime debacle, etc.

    “When President Bush took office, the subprime lending market was in its infancy, and most borrowers got conventional or “prime” loans. But within a few years, the subprime mortgage market exploded as commercial and investment banks competed fiercely to originate more and more home mortgages by dropping their lending standards lower and lower.”

    Unfortunately I believe with whatever we institute, the banks will find a way to pass on the costs to us (I have since switched to a credit union).

    Our country flourished for decades after the Great Depression by instituting regulations that would give us confidence in our banks.

    • pino said:

      I love The Daily Show.

      It’s classic.

      subprime mortgage market exploded as commercial and investment banks competed fiercely to originate more and more home mortgages by dropping their lending standards lower and lower.

      Yup; I agree. Banks made more and more bad loans. I think we agree on that.

      Where I bet we disagree is on the why. I think they did it for three reasons.

      1. The government forced them to.
      2. They could make money by selling these loans to other organizations.
      3. See #2, they wanted to make fast money.

      Unfortunately I believe with whatever we institute, the banks will find a way to pass on the costs to us

      Well, banks preform a service for us. For example, they take my money from my employer and deposit it into my account. They provide me a checking account and online banking. Further, they offer me the availability to access my money from virtually anywhere in the world.

      I happen to think that banks should be compensated for that service.

      Our country flourished for decades after the Great Depression by instituting regulations that would give us confidence in our banks

      Part of that “regulation” was to allow banks to invest in other types of industry. During the great depression, it was the small banks that were only allowed to invest in single industries that failed.

      But I get your point.

  2. It does set up an interesting comparison. If you assume the costs will get pushed on to the consumer in any event, then: a) merchants charge higher rates to everyone in order to pay the debit card fees; or b) debt card users pay the fee, while those who choose not to use debit cards avoid the fee and get slightly lower prices. As someone who only uses my debit card for ATMs (which BOA will not charge a fee on), I may be better off in the new system — if merchants pass on the savings to consumers in the form of lower prices.

    • pino said:

      If you assume the costs will get pushed on to the consumer in any event, then: a) merchants charge higher rates to everyone in order to pay the debit card fees; or b) debt card users pay the fee, while those who choose not to use debit cards avoid the fee and get slightly lower prices.

      Agreed. See above: I think that debit cards are a service. And banks should be able to recoup their investment in those debit card “costs”.

      As someone who only uses my debit card for ATMs

      I use my debit card for EVERYTHING. I have no issue in paying for such a service. Now, if I can get it cheaper somewhere “else”, I’m no dummy. I will.

  3. Alan Scott said:

    Jon Stewart is a jerk. The only person who has gone on his show and put him in his place is Bill Oreilly . Why is everybody afraid of this clown ?

    • pino said:

      Jon Stewart is a jerk.

      Dood, he is hil-ar-ious!

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