You Can't Call It An Unintended Consequence If You Knew It Was Going to Happen

You can't really call something an unintended consequence if you knew it was going to happen. Via The Washington Post, here is the perfectly predictable result of the debit card swipe-fee rules attached to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill:

Bank of America will become the first major bank to charge customers across the country a monthly fee to shop with their debit cards, part of a wave of changes that are eroding the low-cost model of banking that consumers have long enjoyed.

The $5 fee will debut next year for the bank’s basic checking accounts. It will apply only to debit card purchases and not to ATM withdrawals, online bill pay or mobile phone transfers.

The move is just one of the ways banks are overhauling consumers’ accounts in the wake of the financial crisis, which resulted in a regulatory overhaul for the banking system and a fundamental shift in the industry business model. Rather than charge the riskiest consumers the heftiest fees, banks are now spreading their costs more evenly among their customers.

For some banks, that has meant eliminating free checking or ending rewards programs. Credit card holders have found their spending limits slashed and their interest rates increased. And with a new rule taking effect Saturday that limits banks’ ability to make money from merchants, it also means paying for the privilege of swiping your debit card.

Traditionally, financial institutions have charged retailers interchange fees for every debit card transaction. Retailers weren't pleased with this and successfully lobbied to have those fees capped at substantially reduced rates. Starting this week, a Dodd-Frank amendment sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin will cut the average per-transaction fee from about 44 cents to roughly 24 cents for large banks.

The result? Retailers stand to save millions, or more (swipe fees currently total about $15 billion a year). But although big box stores have dangled the possibility of lower retail prices in front of friendly editorial writers, there's little evidence to suggest that consumers will see lower prices as a direct result of the fee caps. What they will see, however, are increased fees on debit cards and the end of many if not all debit card rewards programs. 

This is exactly what critics predicted would happen. Indeed, it is perhaps the least surprising regulatory consequence of the Obama administration's tenure so far. Here's Todd Zywicki of the Mercatus Center predicting the outcome back in 2010, while the fee cap was still being debated:

A reduction in interchange fees will have to be offset by increased revenues elsewhere or a reduction in costs. For example, issuers could try to increase the revenue generated from consumers through higher interest payments, higher penalty fees, or reinstating annual fees.

The Washington Post reports that Durbin issued a statement yesterday arguing that the regulations would help retailers and small businesses, and blasting the new debit card fees as "unfair." But Durbin and other legislators who supported the fee caps were clearly warned about these fees well in advance; they went ahead with the rules anyway. If there's something unfair about the situation, it's that Congress decided to take sides in a big business battle between retailers and banks. Legislators picked the winner—retailers—and consumers ended up as the losers.  

Headline inspiration credit goes to commenters RC Dean and ¢.

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  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    That headline needs an in-line citation to Mr. RC Dean. Make it happen, Herr Suderman!

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Oh, and apparently, Mr. Cent Sign and Sugarfree:

    A piece of reason history.

    And it was on one of your articles, Herr Suderman!

  • Peter Suderman||

    Updated.

  • Almanian||

    Cool!

  • ||

    Thanks.

  • ||

    What in Cthulhu's vile name is going on here?!?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    SugarFree, unfortunately your signal to noise ratio is so out of whack that you'll never get credit for anything.

  • ||

    So I should add more noise? Because I'm already all signal, baby. All.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Yeah, I realized that idiom is easy to read both ways.

  • Joe M||

    Bottom heavy.

  • T||

    Nyquist trembles in his cryogenic chamber at the very thought.

  • Warty||

    Ha! I've still gotten more credit than you. Up yours, valuable commenters.

  • Ø||

    Durbin issued a statement yesterday arguing that the regulations would help retailers and small businesses, and blasting the new debit card fees as "unfair."

    There oughta be a law...

  • congress critters||

    "There oughta be a law..."
    Comin' up!

  • Mainer||

    ....a law that any politician who says something is "unfair" get drawn and quartered and the pieces shot.

  • DB||

    I can agree to that.

  • Wah||

    Yea, what were they thinking fighting against those Jim Crow laws?! They was fairer than fair!

  • newshutz||

    not shot, tarred and feathered

  • ||

    I wonder how many stores Durbin owns that stand to make some money off the lower intercharge fees. Of course he's from Illinois, so it shouldn't be any kind of surprise that he's a moron.

    Corruption, it's what's for dinner.

  • Fat Kids Win at Teeter Totter||

    Money quote:

    "Rather than charge the riskiest consumers the heftiest fees, banks are now spreading their costs more evenly among their customers."

    Because it's SO unfair to charge people fees because they can't monitor their spending...

  • Mikey||

    This is entirely consistent with leftist thinking: the responsible must subsidize the foolish.

  • J_L_B||

    On sane commentator on HuffPo correctly noted how fees on those that overdrafted or wrote checks without sufficient funds would cover everybody else's fees, but now regulation has changed everything.

    The guy after him basically went on a rant about how single mothers overdrafted because of poverty and kids went to bed hungry so he can save himself a fee on money orders.

  • Jeffersonian||

    It's for teh childrunzzz!!

  • ||

    And of course, a $36 overdraft fee on a $5 check doesn't count as "usury," unlike the $17.50 for a $100 payday loan which was effectively banned in so many states.

    Single mothers overdraft because of poverty AND legislatures.

  • ||

    Obviously, you have never had to make that choice. I have and it sucks and is a bitter pill to swallow no matter how you slice it.

  • ||

    And here I was thinking the $35 overdraft charge was for that. Silly me.

    You spread this kind of thing over every customer because it generates more revenue.....

  • o2||

    folks will shift to green dot debit cards. ez pleasy

  • Shorter Urine||

    derp

  • o2||

    its called the [FREEZE] marketz

  • shorter o2||

    HURR DURR

  • Congress||

    No worries, we'll just pass another law.

  • Solanum||

    No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the new laws simply freeze to death.

  • some guy||

    What works for gorillas doesn't necessarily work for legislation. Sorry.

  • Bill||

    Simpsons references can work for anything. +1

  • Michael||

    Not entirely O/T: The Squat Wall Street protest movement appears to have metastasized and spread to my fair city. I noticed a gaggle of the terminally unemployable assembled in the financial district on my ride in to work this morning. Unfortunately there's no word yet if any of them have arrived at an understanding that Dodd-Frank has a far more significant negative impact on most people's well being than all executive bonuses combined.

  • Rhywun||

    Life mirrors South Park...

  • Jason||

    Which episode?

  • Joe M||

    I'm surprised we didn't get any blog posts here about the airline pilots that have joined the protest.

  • Rhywun||

    Dunno about that, but hahahaha I see the TWU (transit workers union) has joined in - way to not gain any sympathy from your fellow NYers.

  • PALEACRITA||

    "PALEACRITA'S REVENGE"

    AS I WALKED THE VALLEY OF GARDEN TOOLS AND LINEN.

    THIS ISN'T THE FAN-MAIL YOU NEED.

    I RAPED A KITTEN SHE TO SEE IF SHE'D SMILED.

    BUT ALL I GOT WAS A TWENTY-DOLLAR BILL.

    WHAT'S THIS YOU SAY? STEVE BARTMAN RUINED THE CUBS. FUCK YOU BARTMAN; EAT A 12-GAUGE BARREL.

    IN CONCLUSION MY LIFE IS A FAIR.

    THIS IS NOT THE HERPES THAT KILLED THE GRUNGE MOVEMENT.

    COBAIN WAS A LIAR, AND SO WERE THE COMMENTATORS.

  • Shorter Urine||

    Cool story, bro

  • ChrisO||

    Rick Perry, is that you?

  • ||

  • ChrisO||

    That actually makes more sense than his little Romney spiel at the debates the other night.

  • MJ||

    It could still be an unintended consequence, as Durbin was told what would happen but refused to believe what he was told. I imagine that Durbin and the legislators who supported reducing the charge to retailers believe that the fee was just a windfall for the banks and not covering an actual infrastructure cost to the banks.

    That being said, I do not think that incompetence resulting from indulging in populist fantasies is much better than outright malicious intent.

  • Michael||

    As an Illinois resident, I am hesitant to accept the notion that Durbin's pig headed actions are mainly the result of just his willful ignorance and partisan bias. I sincerely believe that these results weren't only anticipated but that they were actually intended. The man is an asshole of the highest pedigree.

  • Democratic Straetgist||

    The warnings were Tea Party corporate Republican propaganda.

  • ||

    Those fees will have a limited run. Savoy banks will not charge the fee and use that as a selling point to attract customers. That's how free checking started.

  • ||

    And how the free market works!

    CB

  • Almanian||

    WHAT?!! The "free market" is working somewhere?

    *dials Congress*

    "You need to be aware of this...right...you'll get right on it? Thanks!"

    /statist retard

  • Xenocles||

    In a completely unrelated note, their interest rates for account holders will crater. Or their loans will charge more interest or fees. Or something. I suppose they have the option of eating the cost as a goodwill measure.

  • ||

    The leftists think that banks can eat all the costs until their profits get down to a respectable $0 per year.

  • DB||

    And that is how free debit/ check cards started the first time around, but the man just fucked that one up by tampering with the market (see article).

  • ||

    You realize that "we lose money on every transaction, but make it up on the volume" is the punchline of a JOKE, right?

  • Bill||

    They have to make up the money somewhere. I hope my bank is creative enough to find away to transfer this fee back onto the people who were paying it before (heavy spenders). The old system seemed very fair, but government apparently doesn't like fair.

  • ||

    You could probably headline almost every post at H & R with an Iron Law:

    1. You get more of what you reward and less of what you punish.
    2. Money and power will always find each other.
    3. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
    4. The less you know about something, the easier it looks.
    5. You aren’t free unless you are free to be wrong.
    6. Me today, you tomorrow.
    7. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

  • Almanian||

    Thanks - I'm stealing this whole cloth.

    Luv it

  • Joe M||

    That might be a fun game. Try to label every single blog post with one of these, and if we see some that we can't label, that means there are still more Iron Laws to be forged.

  • Missing||

    >8. Never save your joke name, or you are forever Nancyfied.

  • DB||

    Addendum to #5 ..., and free to own land (actually own land; the current free tenant-ship the states offer does not count as ownership.)

  • Wappledoo||

    I take issue somewhat with the claim that this was just a "big business battle between retailers and banks." After all, there are a huge number of small-business, mom-and-pop type of retailers who were hurt by the fees, too. Not very many mom-and-pop banks that were hurt by the law.

    That said, of course the main lobbying strength was big-box retailers. But the legislators could have decided it was better to take the side of big boxes and also help small businesses, rather than side with banks and help only banks.

  • Almanian||

    You're right, of course, about the small retailers. Most I'm familiar with solved this with, "We're sorry, but we don't accept debit card/credit card/whatever transactions [usually] for less than $x"

    Competitive disadvantage? Business decision.

    Anyway, shitty laws.

    PS I'm still wrestling with "Under what power does Congress have the authority to decide what my bank can cha..."...wait...Interstate Commerce, General Welfare, Necessary and Proper...never mind.

  • Apatheist||

    Yep they either refuse cards below a certain amount, only accept cash or charge extra for the use of a card (even our big liquor chain, Specs, gives a 5% discount for cash). I see it every day, not that complicated. Cards are a convenience for both the retailer and the customer.

  • ||

    More of a nuisance, imo.

  • Gibby||

    That's because you're stupid.

    God that must suck.

    Condolences.

  • DB||

    I agree with Libertymike, cards make it easier for the feds to track you actual sales thus making it harder to avoid taxation and they cost you (the retailer) extra money when they are used (not to mention the infrastructure required to except such cards and the cost of maintenance of such infrastructure.) The Chinese food restaurants do pretty well, cash only, unless they know you then they might let you use a local check (if your lucky).

  • Bill||

    I'm suspicious of any place that only takes cash. You know they only do it to avoid paying taxes. I hate taxes, but I hate people who deliberately cheat on them just as much. A restaurant that cuts corners when it comes to paying taxes probably cuts corners when it comes to other unimportant things like cleanliness.

  • ||

    It could still be an unintended consequence, as Durbin was told what would happen but refused to believe what he was told.

    You're missing the point. You are responsible for all the foreseeable consequences of your actions. This was foreseeable, ergo, Durbin and his cronies are responsible.

  • MJ||

    Yes, indeed. If Durbin's response was "My bad" instead of reacting with anger that a bank would do what he was warned about. Unfortunately, the statist meddlers will never acknowledge that there are ever negative consequences to their interferences. All negatiive results are the result of Big Business greed.

    Durbin is responsible for his actions, I am just not sure whether his actions are the result of intentional malice or willful incompetence. Both should be firing offenses.

  • PALEACRITA||

    "PALEACRITA'S REVIEW OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENTS"

    IT WAS A GLORIOUS HOT DOG.

    THE SOUNDS, THE TEXTURES, THE BUTT POOP-SPRAYING WERE WHAT I WANTED.

    I WISH THERE WAS A WAY THE PEOPLE COULD SLEEP WITH THEIR PRESIDENT'S ANUS WINKING AT THEM.

    BUT SOMEONE WOULD SAY THAT ADORE WAS THE BETTER SUCKIER PUMPKINS ALBUM, AND LIKEWISE THAT STEVE BARTMAN WAS THE RULER OF ALL THE CUBS.

    AS FOR I, WELCH AND GILLESPAPOPOS ARE GOOD FREEDOM-FUCKERS.

    GOOD LUCK,

    YOU'LL NEED IT.

  • Gibby||

    "THE SOUNDS, THE TEXTURES, THE BUTT POOP-SPRAYING WERE WHAT I WANTED."

    Glad I could help hou out.

  • ||

    Durbin's an idiot. How much money has he gotten from the retailers lobby?

  • Almanian Channeling Sandi||

    I took a shit in a lobby once

  • ||

    Bank of America needs money for legal fees.

  • ||

    (A) I think banks have right to charge whatever fees they want to their customers, and (B) I'm sure that Durbin and others who supported the law expected the banks to get back the lost revenue somehow, but isn't the issue that the law "will cut the average per-transaction fee from about 44 cents to roughly 24 cents for large banks," but the new fee that BoA is planning to charge is $5 on the same transaction?

    I would be very surprised if anyone thought, or was even warned, that a 45% cut in a fee charged on a transaction would result in a 1136% increase in revenue to the party charging the fee.

  • MJ||

    From what I understand the $5 is a flat rate monthly fee, not a per transaction fee.

  • kinnath||

    I'll speak slowly for you: 5 dollars per month versus 20 cents per transaction.

    If you use your card once, you pay five bucks that month. If you use your card 1000 times that month, you pay five bucks that month.

    I finally got my debit card when I got tired of the clerks at the cash register at the grocery store not having a pen so I could write one of the few checks that I write each week.

    Now I have to subsidize the dickheads that swipe a card for a cheap cup of coffee in the company cafeteria.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Not to be an asshole, but why not just pull out the amount of cash you think you'll need for your groceries before your visit? Then you won't have to worry about the debit card or writing the check.

    That's what I do, but my credit union is close to the grocery store, so maybe I have an advantage you don't.

  • toaster oven||

    Not saying the reasoning is necessarily wrong as to why they are adding new fees, but I'd just like to mention that BOA never seemed to need to excuse to raise fees before. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that this additional fee has been in the pipeline for a while.

  • sevo||

    "BOA never seemed to need to excuse to raise fees before."
    And you bank with BOA?

  • toaster oven||

    I'm fortunate enough that their fees never hit me. The day that a fee shows up on my statement is the day I transfer my account.

  • ||

    and why do you think that the service of banking should be provided to you at no charge? Is there any other product/service of which you would expect the same?

  • toaster oven||

    Because it was that way when I signed up. Sorry, I don't sympathize with a bank that lures people in with no fees and then later complains about it. I'll just move to a bank that gives me a better deal. Why should I be loyal to BOA?

  • ||

    and why do you think that the service of banking should be provided to you at no charge?

    Perhaps because the deposit of money with a bank allows that bank to make loans, from which it makes money.

  • Joe M||

    They barely need real deposits from actual customers these days. Just turn on the Fed faucet.

  • Doug||

    Anybody still banking with BoA deserves it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    This

  • T||

    Their fraud protection and ATM network from BofA was great, but customer service sucked.

    My favorite BofA story from when I closed my account? They charged me a 4.95 fee to have my account because they hadn't managed to close it in a timely fashion because they're the stoopid. So they refunded me the fee. But they refunded me 5.00. So my account stayed open. So they sent me a new debit card. Over 5 cents, which they never should have credited me in the first place. I still wonder how much that whole episode cost them to handle and fix.

    Yeah, they need the 5 bucks to cover their own stupidity.

  • Sudden||

    I'll recommend Chase. Their fraud protection is pretty top notch in my experience, and they're still free of charges other than a charge of $2 for withdrawing from a rival ATM, but its not usually a problem because their ATMs are fairly ubiquitious, at least in the areas I frequent.

  • T||

    I went with USAA.

  • Xenocles||

    They're great all around - if you're eligible.

  • Ryan||

    I'll be shocked if Chase doesn't follow suit soon.

    ING has paper checks now in addition to debit cards, so I may move my daily purchases over there.

  • robc||

    My favorite BoA story:

    I refinanced my old condo and the loan was sold to BoA. They were fine, I set up autopay, never had any problems, etc.

    I got a large distribution one year from my company and decided to make a big principle payment on my mortgage. Since I had autopay, I called up to figure out where to send a check. They were uber-helpful, including telling me which date range to make sure the check arrived so it wouldnt get confused with a regular payment despite saying PRINCIPLE PAYMENT on it.

    Then, when done, she asked me if I wanted to participate in their free refinancing program, which basically allowed me to pull out a huge chunk of equity in my condo for zero closing costs, at same interest rate I already had and reset to 30 years.

    Yes, she asked me if I wanted to use my condo as an ATM at the end of a conversation about paying down my mortgage.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That's a pretty good textbook example of how the housing bubble was blown up.

  • Joe M||

    They gave me a four year auto loan with a 3.6% rate, so I can't hate them as much as I used to.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    DICK!

  • ||

    The bizarre thing about this whole mess is that this only applies if you don't use the debit card as a credit card. ie, if you go through the whole process of entering your PIN etc. Seeing as how most debit cards nowadays are Visa/MC cards also, this really should be a moot point.

  • ||

    people cry over pennies they control while ignoring the dollars that DC spends. $5 a month merits more faux outrage than billions in loans to solar panel makers.

  • Sudden||

    Because at the end of the day, people are experts at cognitive dissonance. They simultaneously bitch about their taxes and rally for raising taxes on the rich while realizing that the lions share of tax revenues and resulting Solyndra scams are being funded by a relative few and not themselves.

  • Rhywun||

    I'd rather enter a PIN than sign a slip a paper.

    Sometimes I do neither if it's under 10 bucks - so is my card operating as a debit card or a credit card...?

  • ChrisO||

    It's only operating as a debit card if you enter a PIN, AFAIK. Whether to require a signature or not on smaller credit card purchases is up to the retailer, I believe.

  • ||

    Actually, one reason people would use the card as debit would be so they could get extra cash on top of the amount they're paying. You can't do that if you use it as a credit card.

  • Ryan||

    That's what I can't tell from the article. Does this apply if you always use your debit card as a credit card (i.e., never use your PIN to make a purchase)?

  • ||

    I don't think so. If you use it as a credit card, the merchant can't tell the difference between a post-paid credit card and a credit card drawn on a checking account, so the banks can't charge them extra for accepting the latter.

  • ||

    You can't really call something an unintended consequence if you knew it was going to happen.

    Of course you can. It's the difference between unintended and unforseen.

  • Joe M||

    If you pick up a hammer and smash your hand with it, can you say the consequence of a broken hand was either unintended or unforeseen?

  • Xenocles||

    I'm just pulling a trigger; what happens after that is none of my business.

  • ||

    Well, the bank can charge what fees it wants, but since I withdraw maybe twice a month, I'd be willing to switch to a less fee-happy bank. Competition, how does it work?

    The history of bank regulation is rife with fees being eliminated or capped by government fiat only to be replaced by new fees. It's like Whack-A-Mole.

  • robc||

    I have credit unions competing with each other to refund my ATM fees. Im still with a bank, but if they put a fee I dont like on my account, Im in a credit union the next day.

  • JohnD||

    I've been with a credit union for the last 10 years. I get free checking, free ATM use (if it's in network) great auto loan rates and online banking. I also auto deposit my pension and SS checks.

    I love credit unions.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    If you're with one of the Big Four, tell those guys to fuck off and go with a good local credit union. The only reason I haven't cancelled my Wells Fargo and Chase credit cards (which I use maybe once a month for piddly shit like pet food) is because having that higher income-to-credit availability ratio has been good for my credit rating. I'd have dumped them long ago if it wasn't for that.

  • ||

    for virtually every govt action, there is an equal and opposite private sector reaction. This consequence was hardly unintended or unforeseen; it just highlights to obtuseness of the ruling class.

  • robc||

    Want to avoid debit card fees? Carry fucking cash. Is that so fucking hard?

  • Joe M||

    Well I would guess a debit card is more secure if stolen, what with the PI number and all. Cash is just gone. But I still use actual credit cards exclusively, and just pay off the balance every month. I don't understand the appeal of debit cards at all.

  • Sudden||

    Ditto. Plus you get points on the credit card. I can go through my normal spending and every few months I get a free dinner for two at a swanky steakhouse.

  • ||

    How swanky is the steakhouse?

  • Sudden||

    Nothing like DC Lobbyist swanky, but a Morton's/Ruth's Chris type. Truth be told, I'm not a huge steak fan so usually I opt for the gift cards at more of a seafood joint, I do McCormick's and Schmick's or Roy's usually with it, and occassionally a Melting Pot when I'm in a fondue mood.

  • Gibby||

    "McCormick's and Schmick's"

    For a chain, they serve some damn tasty food.

  • twenty-something||

    In my experience, debit cards are for people that can't control themselves with a $7,000 credit limit. As long as they know they only have a few hundred dollars in their checking account, they are able to keep from spending more than they make in a month.

  • ||

    Agreed. Debit cards are for people who are too fucking stupid to be responsible for their money, so they might as well have it taken from them.

    Why would anyone use a Debit Card when a Credit Card will PAY YOU to use it? I've been getting 2% back for almost 10 years.

  • ||

    The have a credit union checking account with an automatically issued debit card. No minimum ammount and you get 4.0% interest on your balance on the last day of the month.

    And the one time I was the victim of fraud, they replaced the money in my account the same day.

    Why not use the debit card?

  • ||

    Out here in the wilderness, I just go to the bank once in a while and cash a check, with the added bonus of getting to make goo-goo eyes at the cute young girls on the other side of the counter.

    I haven't run into anybody who doesn't accept cash, lately.

  • ||

    This is one problem with such low interest rates. If there were higher interest rates on loans banks would not need to charge as many fees. Yes it stunk paying 8-9% on a home loan but banks didn't have so many fees.

  • ||

    One more reason to cancel any BoA accounts.

    Fortunately I don't actually bank with BoA, they just inherited my credit card account from MBNA and my mortgage from Countrywide.

    I've been weighing whether I should re-fi with my Credit Union, this may tip the scale.

    Still, as much as I hate BoA, I still hold these new regulations responsible for this. There is so much to hate about them, it's hard to know where to start.

  • ||

    You can't really call something an unintended consequence if you knew it was going to happen.

    Of course you can. It's the difference between unintended and unforseen.

    You are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of your actions. Crying and whining "But I didn't mean for that to happen", when anybody with a brain knew it would, is what kindergartners do.

    Holding someone personally responsible for the consequences of their actions depends on the premise that they intend, not only to do what they do, but that the foreseeable consequences of what they just did come about.

  • ||

    So Bush and supporters of the Iraq invasion intended for civilians to die? You can't seriously claim they didn't foresee civilian deaths as a consequence of the invasion.

    There are two separate concepts here: foreseen and intended. Blurring them is both dishonest and unnecessary, as in this case you could critique Durbin et al for pretending foreseeable consequences were unforeseen.

  • JohnD||

    I guess no civilians have died under Obama's "illegel" wars in Iraq, Afgan and Lybia?
    Funny how the left pretty much stopped protesting these wars once a liberal was elected.

    Morons.

  • ||

    If you're going to tu quoque, make sure you at least have the right tu.

  • Solanum||

    Ack. I have to agree with Tulpa on this one. I need to go shower now.

  • robc||

    To answer your question: Yes.

    If we drop this bomb will civilians die? Yes. Even if we try real hard not to? Yes. Is it still worth it (not that I agree with this wrt Iraq)? Yes. Okay, lets kill some civilians, but try to minimize that, please.

  • ||

    You guys are confusing "intent" with "foreknowledge". They are extremely different things.

    If you drop a bomb intending to kill civilians, that's a war crime.

    If you drop a bomb intending to take out a military target, but know that civilians are inevitably going to be killed in the process, that's a perfectly legal act of war.

  • ||

    So Bush and supporters of the Iraq invasion intended for civilians to die?

    Of course they did. Its foolish to say otherwise.

    See, above, "I'm just pulling a trigger here. What happens after that is none of my concern."

  • ||

    Wow RC, that's a pretty strong accusation. Intentional killing of noncombatants is a war crime, no? Don't tell me you're joining the "try Bush for war crimes!" bunch.

  • ||

    Or to put it another way: if the bad of the foreseen consequences of a proposed act outweighs the good of the intended consequences, don't do it.

    Not as pithy as RC'z law, but oh well.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of your actions.

    This sort of sounds like the justification of the the slow elimination of mens rea these days.

    (IANAL - that doesn't mean I like anal - so I might have the wording a bit wrong. Throw me in jail then.)

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    It's really just the lowest standard of mens rea: knew or should have known (foreseeability) aka negligence. At a minimum, Durbin was negligent. At worst, he had malice in his heart. ha!

  • Tango Mike||

    What's wrong with anal?

  • Spoonman.||

    This caused my rewards checking/debit card account (at a tiny bank called TransPecos) to lower its interest rate from 3.33% on the first $25k to 2.5% on the first $10k.

  • dmoynihan||

    Bank of America also screwed over its quarter-million merchant account holders by shafting us from Cybersource (which ruled) to FirstData. So, thanks to BoA, now my non-pr0n sites have the same shitty CC processor as my pr0n site.

  • Mainer||

    Most people won't understand that Dick Durbin caused this. They'll just see an evil corporation, a big bank, screwing the little guy.

  • Sudden||

    The sad reality, people are too fucking stupid to realize who is screwing them.

  • ||

    I hope they are going to charge EBT cards the same way. They are debit cards.

  • Gojira||

    This is the secret to the whole thing.

    They want to outlaw profit. Or what they deem "excessive" profit.

    But they can't just come out and say that. So they have to limit profit-making vehicles as much as they can through absurd regulations, hoping that instead of looking elsewhere to keep the same level of profit, the companies will simply accept the lower profit margins.

    But of course no one will simply shrug and accept lower profit margins if they can help it. This is the fundamental truth that the progressive both hates, and refuses to confront. Companies don't do things out of love for humanity...they do things to make money, period. And will do certain things that they think will make them more money.

    You could honestly cut out about 2/3 of all the regulations in the books if they could just replace it with a single regulation about not being allowed to run a business model which reaps more than a 10% net profit, or something along those lines. It's what they really want...cheaper stuff AND higher pay for workers, paid for by low profit margins. They fundamentally believe in class warfare, and that the "ownership" class is somehow sticking it to the rest of us by enjoying their profit. So they seek to destroy this.

  • Alex||

    I enjoy it when they rant about the "greed" of corporations, and how they do anything for a buck....but then when confronted with the fact that corporations will simply pass on the cost of higher taxes/regulations to consumers, they'll look at you like you have a 3rd head.

    As if they believed corporations would simply eat the higher costs, despite the fact they also believe corporations would kill your parents to make a buck.

  • DeebeeEye||

    Doesn't that imply that the cost savings from reduced swipe fees will be passed onto consumers using less tracable physical payment? Seems like a net positive to me.

  • Stawman||

    This is the fundamental truth that the progressive both hates, and refuses to confront...You could honestly cut out about 2/3 of all the regulations in the books if they could just replace it with a single regulation about not being allowed to run a business model which reaps more than a 10% net profit, or something along those lines.

    I need to come out of the closet and as a progressive admit that this point is true.

    However, I would NOT impose a PROFIT cap, as the problem is not with corporations, it's with individuals. I would impose SALARY caps...as done in the PUBLIC SECTOR and eliminate the distinction between earned income and capital gains. I'd call it ALL EARNED INCOME and tax Stock profits and Dividends and the marginal tax rate.

    And, in all fareness, I'd eliminate the Corporate Income tax and aggressively go after principal owners that commit tax fraud.

    That'll get'm

  • ||

    You Can't Call It An Unintended Consequence If You Knew It Was Going to Happen

    So people dying because they can't afford necessary medical care is an intended consequence of opposition to universal health care?

    People becoming addicted to heroin and being unable to hold down a job as a result is an intended consequence of legalizing drugs?

    Public school teachers losing their jobs and getting evicted from their houses because they can't pay the mortgage is an intended consequence of cutting public school funding?

    There are such things as negative foreseeable consequences that are tolerated so that more positive intended consequences can be achieved. I've brought up the Iraq example in particular for RC to address many, many times when he quotes his little "law" and he never fails to fail to respond. Hopefully Mr Suderman won't be as pigheaded about clinging to pithy, ear-tickling little aphorisms that make no sense upon rigorous inspection.

  • ||

    Not Unintended does not equal Intended

    Not Unintended = Known and Accepted By-product

    The point is that labeling something unintended, when you knew full well it was going to happen, is absurd. You're trying to dodge responsibility for your action.

  • ||

    Nicely put, MP. Much pithier.

  • ||

    The point is that labeling something unintended, when you knew full well it was going to happen, is absurd.

    Do you know what the word "intend" means? It's not a synonym for "know is going to happen".

  • ||

    The point is that labeling something unintended, when you knew full well it was going to happen, is absurd. You're trying to dodge responsibility for your action.

    Perhaps people use the word "unintended" for that reason, but they're as wrong as you guys are and for the same reason: unintended != unforeseen.

    When your actions result in negative foreseeable consequences that outweigh the positive consequences you intended, then you should be punished for that act. The fact that the negative consequences were unintended shouldn't absolve you.

  • ||

    So people dying because they can't afford necessary medical care is an intended consequence of opposition to universal health care?

    First, I might have to think about whether not supporting a policy makes you responsible for the results of not having that policy. I'm not sure that it does.

    Then, you have to show that people will or have died because they can't afford necessary medical care. I don't think you can; certainly the administration never did during the runup to ObamaCare.

    Since I'm basically operating off of a common-law model of "intentional" torts here, you would also have to show there weren't supervening proximate causes for the fatal lack of care.

    In the example above about BushCo intending the collateral damage in Iraq, I think you could, indeed point to people dead as collateral damage, and a lack of supervening proximate cause.

    In the healthcare example, I don't think you can.

  • ||

    First, I might have to think about whether not supporting a policy makes you responsible for the results of not having that policy. I'm not sure that it does.

    LOL, I guess that means Durbin is off the hook, and this whole article is meaningless.

  • ||

    But that's OK because most voters will never know the increases are a direct result of Dodd/Frank and they'll just blame those evil, greedy banks and ask for yet MORE regulation. It's the perfect storm; meddlesome regulations raise prices, causing people to get angry, giving a reaosn for yet more meddlesome regulation

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The Washington Post reports that Durbin issued a statement yesterday arguing that the regulations would help retailers and small businesses, and blasting the new debit card fees as "unfair."

    No, Senator Asshole, what was unfair was you and your colleagues allowing the Big Four to get out of the housing bubble meltdown scot-free while dozens of smaller banks have been forced to take the medicine and shut down.

    I've been banking with a credit union ever since TARP passed (giving up an account with Wells Fargo that I'd had since 1994 back when Norwest was still operational), and I haven't regretted that decision one bit.

  • ||

    Stop looking for reasons to blame the government. Don't want excessive fees? Take all your money out of corporate/commercial banks like BofA and Citi, and put it in a credit union. Credit unions are local, non-profit and don't raise or create fees just to line their own pockets.

  • ||

    Either lowering taxes on businesses means they will pass the savings on to customers or lowering the card transaction fee does not affect what a business will charge the customer. You can't argue both simultaneously.

    You can also view this as an offset for the "millionaire" tax, since maintaining a relatively small balance ($7,000, is it?) means you won't pay any fees to Bank of America. And free markets mean you CAN shop around for a better deal. I'm calling the whaaaaambulance.

  • Coeus||

    Shopping around for a better deal is all well and good, but when you have to do so because of govenment regulation, it's appropiate to bitch about it. Only government worshiping statists don't complain when the government makes their lives more complicated in the guise of "helping them".

  • ||

    I notice you didn't address the first, most important half of my comment. Telling.

  • ||

    Conservatives say small businesses will get the country out of the recession by creating jobs. Banks that caused the recession in the first place rape small businesses up the patootie because they HAVE to take credit and debit cards or lose customers. Government stops the raping. Conservatives complain about helping small businesses so they can hire more people. YOU CANT EXPLAIN THAT.

  • Coeus||

    Yeah, they really stuck it to the banks...Oh, wait, it got passed onto the customers and the banks had no difficulty at all. Shit, I guess good intentions are all that matter (even when the obvious is pointed out before hand).

    Oh, and this:
    Government stops the raping.

    The only time that government stops raping is on federal holidays (and then only to a lesser degree).

  • ||

    The fees haven't changed, they are just out in the open now. You paid extra at the store because banks charged astronomical amounts of "interchange fees" to retailers for electronically moving a few bits of information from your bank account to the merchant's. (we have the highest interchange fees in the world in the US and yet our credit card technology is a generation behind Europe's)

    Now those hidden fees are out in the open and consumers can chose to pay them or move their money. Isn't that a good thing? In fact isn't perfect information on the part of the consumer an essential part of any theory of an effective free market?

  • ||

    Umm, if there's little evidence that reduced swipe fees will result in lower prices, isn't that uncomfortably close to saying lower taxes won't reduce prices?

  • ||

    By the way, you can certainly call it unintended if you knew it was going to happen. What you can't call it is an unpredicted consequence. That doesn't mean your intent was to cause this particular consequence.

  • K||

    And now BoA has changed its mind on debit card fees. Why, exactly, were these fees inevitable? Reduced fees don't "have to be offset by increased revenues elsewhere or a reduction in costs". Profit numbers aren't a god-given right.

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