Sunday, April 26, 2009
Beware the unintended consequences of the "Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights," which could pass the House this week. Even assuming the best of intentions, the proposed restrictions (like usury laws) would make it harder for lower-income people or those with weak credit records to use credit cards. This wouldn't reduce their debt; it would only encourage a switch to inferior forms of debt. I hate defending the banks since they are not free-market firms but rather part of a state-banking cartel. But this is no way to address whatever credit-card problems exist. Even in the current context, banks compete for credit-card customers, and people shop around aggressively. (I've transferred balances at zero-interest often in the past.) The alleged obligations attached to TARP money are irrelevant if the new regulations would harm people.