May 09, 2011
In Which I Can’t Come Up With A Clever Title About Swipe Fees...

As if America didn’t have enough wars already, we have before us the Epic Struggle between the Big Retailers and the Big Banks:

The battle of the “swipe fees” has been hard to miss the last few weeks. The big banks are spending millions of dollars on TV, radio and Internet ads telling us that the government should not limit the fees that they charge on debit card transactions. On the other side, a coalition of major retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, has been funding a comparable campaign to stop the banks’ gouging.

So far so good. It’s like the Iran-Iraq War — who the hell are we supposed to root for???? But then there’s this:

In this case, Wal-Mart is on the side of the angels; small businesses and consumers will win if they prevail. This is an important battle in its own right, but even more important as a lesson in effective politics.

Read the rest of the piece — it makes its point succinctly and effectively, and needs no help from me. But the looming brouhaha illustrates something that no one ever points out: Those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad regulations that businesses like to complain about frequently have the curious effect of protecting or benefitting, y’know, business.

This is the dirtiest of dirty little secrets in our current discourse.


Posted by Kurt Weldon at May 09, 2011 03:15 PM
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