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On the Desire to be Charitable

Toward the end of a McClatchy report on proposals that the Federal Reserve actually think about maybe someday perhaps trying to regulate the credit card industry a little, Sandra Braunstein testified to Congress that

the strong comments from the public on improving credit card statements and disclosures were “startling.”

“We had over 2,000 letters on the credit card proposal from individuals that were truly personal and individually written about people’s personal experience with their cards,” Braunstein told lawmakers. “We’ve never had that on any rulemaking before. So I have to tell you, that resonated with us.”

Braunstein’s startling is incredible. Who besides the most corrupt or heartless soul would even entertain the idea that a man might believe it reasonable that the interest on his loan shoots from 9.5% to 33.2% because he happened to be short on his electric and gas bill? Who besides the most corrupt or heartless soul would think that a woman would appreciate Bank of America for being so generous as to hold her late fee below $40.00 ? How is it that an experienced public official manages to have so little common sense about pocketbook policies that they are shocked that citizens might be upset, might feel gouged as if Visa, Mastercard, and Discover were conspiring to extract a pound of flesh plus interest?

Sigh. Braunstein’s shock is probably more about bureaucratic insularity than about common sense. She is shocked because the Federal Reserve is not the most public-service-oriented agency in the U.S. government: the regulations it polices affect banks and finance firms most directly, so they talk to finance moguls and corporate lawyers, the most corrupt and heartless among us, not Hillary Clinton’s America. It is a legitimate sign of wonder to staffers that there are no Harvard-bred accents when citizens do happen leave messages on the Fed’s voice mail box. Pity the poor bureaucrats, then, and pity us that we are served by them.



Bad as that is, it pales in comparison to the insularity of elected officials…you know with the top notch healthcare and guaranteed pensions.

In my opinion, the single smartest thing Edwards did in his primary campaign was to propose that all federal lawmakers lose their healthcare until they pass a system that covers everyone else equally as well. That it had a 0% chance of passing and was regarded as the worst sort of posturing is a further indictment on our regime.