No one likes high bank fees, especially in an era of bailouts, Wall Street occupations, and Washington deciding which banks survive. So a $5 monthly debit card fee creates an ideal situation for a manipulative politician, and Sen. Dick Durbin is ready to reap the populist hay. 

Bank of America initiated the $5 debit card fee and you’d have thought they’d reinstated debtor’s prison. No sooner was the fee announced than Durbin pounced. 

Bank of America customer, vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank. Find yourself a bank or credit union that won’t gouge you for $5 a month and still will give you a debit card that you can use every single day. What Bank of America has done is an outrage. 

Did Durbin forget that Bank of America never charged a monthly debit card fee until he legislated “fairness” into the banking industry? No, he didn’t forget. He’s just a hypocrite. Then, to cover his trail, this dim bulb encouraged a bank run that would, if fulfilled, result in Bank of America’s insolvency. 

Yesterday the federal government bailed out “too big to fail” Bank of America with 45-billion taxpayer dollars. Today Dick Durbin has declared B of A expendable. I don’t know which is more insulting: the inconsistency, or Durbin’s belief that Bank of America customers need his prompt to seek a new bank if they find the debit card fee egregious. 

How can Durbin feign such self-righteous indignation over the debit card fee anyway? He created it. Durbin’s amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation placed an artificial cease-and-desist order on the debit card fees banks once charged. Bank of America predictably sought new revenue streams to replace those Durbin’s amendment disallows. It’s the natural action for an institution whose revenue is disrupted. 

When a business is squeezed in one area it will redirect its quest for profits, a phenomenon clearly illustrated in my Water Balloon Theory. If you fill a long balloon with water and compress one area, the water will be forced to a new location. No matter how hard you squeeze, you can’t contain the water in one place. It will always move to a spot of lesser resistance. The only way to stop the process is to compress the balloon until it bursts. 

Sen. Durbin tried to disprove my Water Balloon Theory, but he failed. His attempt to constrain the bank’s fee structure simply forced those fees to a new location. At Bank of America the bulge appeared in the form of a $5 monthly charge for debit card use. 

The Water Balloon Theory remains intact. Exerting political pressure on businesses will push their hunt for profits in a new direction. Continually increasing said pressure will cause businesses to fail, just like a balloon. We should apply this theory whenever we’re tempted to demand congressional action on a perceived unfairness. Otherwise we, like Durbin, will end up all wet.

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