Doing a little more research into the Durbin Amendment, which causes the power of the U.S. Government to intervene in a commercial dispute between merchants and banks, I found something remarkable: even the New York Times admits that this measure is a price control.
The website of Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) includes a reprint of an article from the New York Times, which reads in part:
Sixty-four senators, including 17 Republicans, agreed to impose price controls on debit transactions …
I can’t imagine anything that could possible go wrong from price controls. Can you?
The Times also noted the very unusual nature of the vote:
The Senate approved a series of amendments unfavorable to the banking industry over the last week, but this one was widely regarded as the most surprising. Meddling in dealings between businesses generally is anathema to Republicans and a relatively low priority for Democrats
Finally, the decision to impose price controls demonstrates the fact that when government is big enough to decide the fate of businesses, those businesses won’t stand idly by. Instead, they will engage in actions that “clean government” types will decry as corruption:
Lobbyists for the wounded but formidable banking industry made clear to some senators that this decision would affect future campaign donations, according to people who participated in those conversations.
As I’ve said before–and the Times agrees–this is a dispute between business interests. Congress intervened where it should not have, bringing yet more economic and political harm.