CEI Daily - The Durbin Amendment, Bag Searches, and McDonald's


The Durbin Amendment


Yesterday, in implementing the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking law, the Federal Reserve set price controls for interchange fees that retailers pay to debit card issuers at no more than 12 cents per transaction.


Director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs John Berlau explains why these price controls are a "gift to retailers" but a "lump of coal for consumers, community banks, and credit unions."


"Unless Congress acts to delay or repeal the Durbin Amendment, consumers, community banks, and credit unions will be getting a large lump of coal in their stockings by next December as the expenses of running an efficient payment card system are shifted almost entirely onto their shoulders. Consumers have already seen the costs of this rule through the loss of free checking as a result of banks’ anticipation of an estimated 60 to 80 percent loss of revenue from merchant fees. Moreover, the price controls and other provisions of the Durbin Amendment will like reduce investment and innovation to counter emerging hacking and security threats to the payment system."




Bag Searches


The WMATA has announced they will begin randomly searching bags on the D.C. metro.


Research Associate Brian McGraw argues that the searches are not a rational response to supposed threats.


"Everyone wants our transportation systems to be safe. But safety must also be balanced with respecting the privacy of citizens, and not wasting money on things that do not make us safer. Sometimes, our safety overlords do things that utilize scarce resources (including taxpayer dollars!) that seem mind-bogglingly dumb."





The Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing McDonald's.


Senior Counsel Hans Bader talks about the plaintiff's argument.


"Why is the plaintiff in the suit against McDonald’s suing? She claims that '[b]ecause of McDonald’s marketing, her daughter has frequently pestered her into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased,' and that 'when she said no, her kids became disagreeable' and 'pouted.'  If that’s a basis for suing, then, as Walter Olson notes, 'McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry.'"