While I generally thought that President Obama's press conference on Thursday was yet another snoozefest of rehashed rhetoric, he did utter one ringing statement that jolted me out of my chair in dismay.
"...People have been using financial regulation as an excuse to charge consumers more."
Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Does President Obama actually believe what he's saying, or has he really entered into relentless campaign-mode and is just trying to spin the Durbin amendment situation for damage-control purposes? Either way, the fact that such a phrase escaped the lips of the President of the United States is flabbergasting. How could a person so lacking in basic economic understanding have been elected to the highest office of what is supposed to be the freest country on the planet?
Competition is a more immediate, efficient, and consequential regulator than the government can or ever will be, not to mention a much more virtuous and unbiased institution. Businesses do not exist in a vacuum. They cannot do whatever they want and charge customers whatever price they please. If a business does begin to charge customers an inordinate amount for a product or service, another business will step up and think of ways to offer a similar product or service more cheaply or at a better quality. If Business A tries to use a regulation as a fake "excuse" to charge consumers more money, then Business B will quickly not use that "excuse," offer the customers the service at a cheaper rate, and detract customers away from dishonest Business A.
And another thing - nobody is entitled to the use of a debit card. Just because ingenious human minds operating in a free market have invented a method that makes the transactions of our daily lives simple and systematic, freeing up our personal time and energy for more specialized endeavors, does not mean that a debit card is a human right. If you don't like what Bank of America or whomever is doing, don't do business with them - and watch how much more difficult your life becomes.
This is precisely what is so appalling about these 'Occupy Wall Street' protests. These 'Occupiers' are raging against corporations and the free market, while enjoying all the material trappings of a consumerist lifestyle. Nothing is stopping them from emancipating themselves from the system, absconding to the wilderness, and foraging off the land for survival. Or from moving to a more "just" place, like, say, communist China. But they won't - because human life is infinitely less miserable because of free markets. And while you're certainly allowed to voice your grievances with a system you believe has been corrupted (and, because of big government, it definitely has), let's start from a platform of gratitude instead of greed. (Yes, Occupiers, I just called you greedy. Free health care? Free education? Where do you think these things come from, exactly?)
The idea that the President's thought processes might actually run on par with these guys' is downright terrifying.