Cusco In the predawn I ran down to the lobby to check the on-line Times before we humped it to the mountain tops in Cusco, but I wasn’t looking for ball scores or editorials, but to see if the biscuit cookers – an old Arkansas term for consumers coined by the infamous Witt Stephens at Arkla Gas – finally caught a break on credit and debit card fee ripoffs by banks. As anyone with a card knows, and that’s just about everyone it seems these days, banks are squeezing 1% to 3% on card transactions largely just because they can, certainly not because they are rendering any kind of service or involved in fair pricing for the instantaneous electronic and computerized transactions involved in their processing. The U.S. Senate following Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s lead in fact passed some much needed financial justice protection by a hearty bipartisan margin to have the Federal Reserver put limits and reins on this blatant ripoff that allows the banking casino operators to skim off $50 billion a year in sweet profits with “money for nothing!”
Of course turning any kind of consumer protection on banks to the Federal Reserve is a little bit like turning the chickens over to the fox, so I wouldn’t hold my breath that this won’t still be a major battle to get something real, especially since the Fed Reserve is still having to noodle the banks along on life support. I can hear the roaring whine all the way down here in Peru when they start getting the lobbyist geared up again to try to water down the regs!
But, that’s for later, today there’s cause to celebrate!