Credit Card Bill: Good Politics, Bad Policy

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), a real profile in courage…slumping dramatically in the polls, in need of working class votes, needing to innoculate himself as a champion of the banking special interests, who received favorable treatment on a loan and sneakily slipped provisions favoring the industry into bills during closed-door conferences…now authors a bill essentially pantsing the credit card industry. No doubt, they needed to be reined in and changed needed to be made, but the federal reserve has already announced that it is issuing new rules to cover these issues, and the regulatory parameters are already in place to keep a lot of these unfair practices in check…and the market itself can put its own check on the system.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill 90-5. You can read the AP story about the Credit Card Bill of Rights here. Now they can all go home and tell their constituents that they’re doing something to stop those bad people from hurting you — everyone has a credit card, everyone feels the pain. It’s a slam dunk. But if this was so needed, why not put these measures in place a year ago or even six months ago? 

The politics of this bill are so transparent, my hope is that we accidentally end up with good policy and those doing the political grandstanding will suffer even more for the almost stunning knee-jerk reactionary politics. Do you take us all for idiots? 

But I could never endorse this as good policy as long as it contains a provision, which the Senate bill incredibly does, that allows someone to carry a loaded weapon into a national park. What that has to do with credit card policy is beyond me, but then again, maybe a lot of public policy today has more in common with the credit card industry than we really think. Lets get our quick quick fix now, and worry about the payments later. 

Well, have to run. I’m feeling the need to do some online shopping:) — Jeff


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