I still get quite a chuckle out of the hilariously flawed attempt by the California legislature years ago to regulate ATMs. The people were mightily upset over the fact that they had to pay a fee to use an ATM owned and operated by a bank in which they had no funds on deposit from which to withdraw cash. It didn’t matter to them that the bank which owed the ATM had to go through the process of advancing those funds to the ATM user, then retrieving those funds from the the user’s actual bank. How DARE they charge for those services? Sure ... they spent millions of dollars building and operating their ATM electronic infrastructure They built all those nifty machines and then leased convenient locations so that a consumer could find one when needed. They also bought and maintained the computers needed to run the system, and they pay for people to keep them stocked with cash. They suffer losses from thefts and attacks on their employees. So what? Sure! It’s great they spent all that money to make things easy for me, but they had better not try to charge me to use one of those things if I’m not one of their actual customers. Charge me a fee for that service? Why that’s robbery!
So the moonbats in the California legislature pass their cute little law telling the banks that they cannot charge non-customers to use their ATMs. The banks then immediately restrict access to their ATMs to their own customers. How simple was that? If you can’t charge someone for a service, just don’t provide them with the service in the first place! In no time at all the law was repealed.
A more recent explosion of anguish and grief was over decisions made by some banks to implement a $5 monthly charge for consumers who wish to use point-of-purchase debit cards rather than carry large amounts of cash or go through the check-writing or credit card process. Some major retailers were behind this one. Sure, these retailers loved the convenience of debit cards. They didn’t have to deal with all that cash, and the customer’s purchase was instantly credited to the merchant’s account! They saved millions! What they didn’t love was the fees on those debit card purchases being charged by the banks. Surely there must be a way to keep the convenience of customers using debit cards without having to pay for it. So major retailers (you can just guess who I’m talking about) started making huge campaign contributions to some politicians .. and the next thing you know the “swiping fees” that banks were allowed to charge were slashed by more than half. The banks were losing billions on this one, so they decide that if they can’t charge the merchants, they’ll charge their customers. Immediately the left launches an assault on these “predatory” banks and the politicians threaten punitive action. The banks retreat and suffer their losses.
Now the banks will most certainly be attacked over plans to charge some customers for their checking accounts. Never mind that banks lose money providing checking accounts to low-depositors who use no other services. The left has decreed that trying to earn money by providing a service or product is greedy. Demanding a free service, product or the money earned by another is not.
This is the type of intellectualism that gave us Caesar Obammus as president.