The dazzling hypocrisy of "Don’t Make Us Pay"

I came across these ads recently:

Oh my god! The bad mean government wants to make you pay more to use debit cards! Are they levying a tax?

Of course not. This is a campaign by the banks to repeal a law that limits the fees they can charge retailers. They really don’t like any limitations at all, do they?

The irony of this campaign is that it occurs at the same time that more attention is being focused on the banks’ tax-dodging. Bank of America, among many others, paid $0 in income taxes in the last few years, despite earning record profits after being bailed out with taxpayer money. That’s right, the same assholes who loved it when “big government” bailed them out, don’t want to pay their taxes and don’t like being told to keep their fees reasonable.

It’s fascinating to see them say “[t]he only beneficiaries of [current law] are retailers, who will take home an additional $14 billion in profits”. First of all, the financial sector has been making a huge proportion of all corporate profit in the last decade or two; there’s no reason not to shift profit toward actual industry. Secondly, they claim that this won’t benefit consumers – but why not? The retailers might lower their prices, by the same logic this site presents for banks: if they can’t raise fees, they claim, consumers will suffer. But in reality, of course, the banks are the ones who will simply reap more profit, “and consumers will be left to deal with the consequences”.

I do agree, though, that “Congress should be in the business of protecting consumers, not forcing us to pay for the costs of giant retailers” – or bailing out banks that ought better to be nationalized, or allowing large corporations of any type to evade taxes through shell companies and offshore banking.

The real behavior of the banks says: “Don’t Make Us Pay” – for anything. Not even their fair share.

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