The Corner

Credit Crunch

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted for a bill to reduce the fees that credit card charge to merchants. The most obnoxious element of the bill–a provision allowing a three-judge panel to set the fees–was shelved. But what’s left isn’t great. There’s no good reason for the government to supervise negotiations between consenting adults. A one-sided antitrust exemption, allowing the merchants to form a common front, does not make much sense either. Why should a deal be rigged in the merchants’ favor? Especially when the likely consequence is higher annual fees for credit-card users?

Republicans who voted for this bill include Mike Pence, Ric Keller, Bob Goodlatte, and Darrell Issa. Democrats who showed better sense include Artur Davis, Robert Wexler, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. NRO editorialized about the bill a few weeks ago. 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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