Is there a God?

If you ever doubt there is a god, just watch what some of our politicians get up to. They have no such doubts. They know they are God.

Take your debit card, for instance. You use it to buy burgers and fries for the kids. The bank charges the restaurant 44 cents for processing your transaction.

Congressguys decided this was unfair. They slashed it to 24 cents. They decided, as God, that 24 cents was the fair price.

This will cost the big banks about $14 billion a year. So some of them now plan to charge customers for debit cards. Bank of America says $5 per month. Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase maybe $3. To make up some or all of what they will lose. Because guys in Congress played God again.

This is not the first time they decided to stick their noses between buyers and sellers – these congressional gods. They have set prices in many transactions. In their wisdom, they just know what is fair or unfair. In the wisdom of God.



The politician who has pie on his face over the debit card fees is Sen. Dick Durbin from Illinois. His amendment brought it all about. So when people complained about the fees the banks say they will charge, he felt some heat. After all, it was the Durbin Amendment that caused the fees.

His response? He flashed a debit card on the floor of the Senate and told people to flee the big banks. Said the banks were gouging customers with these fees. Said the big banks were performing an outrage.

He knows such things – gouging and outrageous behavior – because he is God.

Some lowly creatures would say the market knows what is fair or unfair. If lowly creatures don’t like the price of something, they don’t buy it. If they feel the price is fair, they do buy it. In this case, if they feel the monthly fee is too high, they will stop using their debit cards. And if retailers feel 44 cents is too high, they will stop taking debit cards.

Ahh, but these are lowly creatures. Minions. Senator Durbin is God. He knows more than they do.

Interesting that Senator Durbin is a lawyer. He got over $2 million for his last campaign from lawyers. He only got about $38,000 from big banks. Do you suppose the senator would play God with lawyers’ fees? Would he propose that $2500 is the only fair price for a lawyer to charge per divorce? Do you suppose he would get away with that?

Or if the big banks had given him the $2 million plus for his campaign, do you suppose he would have messed around with what they charge?

I know it must be hard for you to decide what the good senator would do or think in any situation. After all, he is God. He knows more than you or me. He knows more than the market place.

What has happened is that Durbin and colleagues are desperate to raise money. They would tax every friggin’ thing that moves if they could get away with it. The villains of the month are the big banks. The President has declared them so. So Durbin & Co. whacked them with another fee.

The banks said “Screw you, Durbin & Co. If you whack us for $14 billion, we will pass it along to customers.”

The customers protested. So Durbin blamed – not himself – for creating this brouhaha.  He blamed them nasty big banks.  Them nasty big banks that gave him only $38,000 for his campaign.

Maybe the next time the collection plate comes around, them nasty big banks will treat God more generously.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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