Congress is doing all it can to throw sand into the gears of our market economy, says Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media.
“Washington’s war on the free market, capital investment, and financial services must end. Congress must get out of the way,” he writes on Politico
Forbes cites the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and its Durbin amendment covering credit and debit cards as an example.
Retail businesses have long complained about the fees card companies charge them to use the companies’ payment network. Retailers “successfully pushed Congress to slap price controls on these fees through the Durbin Amendment,” Forbes writes.
“The amendment, rushed through Congress [in 2010] with no debate, has muddied the marketplace by failing to deliver the promised benefits to consumers and small businesses in the form of lower prices, while increasing profits for the biggest retailers.”
But fortunately, retailers and card companies continued to negotiate and recently announced a settlement. “U.S. merchants got what they had long said they wanted: debit interchange rates are capped,” Forbes writes. “One would think this would finally end the multiyear dispute.”
But no. Retailers have run to Congress claiming the deal didn’t go far enough, Forbes says. “This brouhaha shows how far we have strayed from the most basic economic principles that created prosperity in America for generations . . . Washington must allow businesses and industries to settle their disputes on their own.”
And businesses must stop reflexively turning to Washington to solve their problems. “That process has increased congressional usurpation of free-market functions,” Forbes writes.
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