The Law of Intended Consequences

Who could possibly have foreseen this?

Bank of America will become the first major bank to charge customers across the country a monthly fee to shop with their debit cards, part of a wave of changes that are eroding the low-cost model of banking that consumers have long enjoyed.

The $5 fee will debut next year for the bank’s basic checking accounts. It will apply only to debit card purchases and not to ATM withdrawals, online bill pay or mobile phone transfers. A spokeswoman said the bank is “adjusting our pricing to reflect today’s economics.”

The move is just one of the ways banks are overhauling consumers’ accounts in the wake of the financial crisis, which resulted in a regulatory overhaul for the banking system and a fundamental shift in the industry business model. Rather than charge the riskiest consumers the heftiest fees, banks are now spreading their costs more evenly among their customers.

“Spreading their costs more evenly among their customers”. We knew Obama was going to “spread the wealth around” with government. But who knew he’d make the banks do it too?

What’s going on here is that the Dodd-Frank had a provision inserted by Dick Durbin (D-Best Buy) that cut debit swipe fees from 44 to 24 cents. This shifted several billion dollars from evil banks to wonderful retailers. So the banks are pushing the costs back on us.

Well, you never know what’s going to happen when … actually we fucking did know. I said it. So did everyone else who wasn’t completely in the pocket of retailer lobbyists. But the glorious Democratic Party, defender of the little guy, made sure that retailers got a break on swipe fees at the expense of bank customers.