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Hawley Pushes Price Caps
Why is a Republican Senator to the left of Bernie and AOC on "anything"?
I remember when I joined the Republican Party twenty-five years ago the GOP opposed unnecessary intrusion in the economy.
One of the many reasons that I am no longer a Republican is because Republicans have gotten too comfortable with supporting this kind of nonsense:
On the question of credit, the senior Republican senator from Missouri finds himself well to the left of the White House, only slightly less progressive than democratic socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and very much out of step with the business-friendly old guard of his party.
Sen. Josh Hawley will introduce legislation to cap the annual percentage rate of credit cards at 18%, RealClearPolitics is first to report. The average APR, by most estimates, now hovers near the 24% mark.
“Americans are being crushed under the weight of record credit card debt,” Hawley said just weeks after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that national household credit card debt had hit the sobering and historic $1 trillion milestone.
“The government was quick to bail out the banks just this spring,” he continued, referencing the now-liquidated Silicon Valley Bank of California and Signature Bank of New York, “but has ignored working people struggling to get ahead.” Setting rates on credit cards then, the Republican said, would be a “fair” and “common-sense” way to give “the working class a chance.”
Yes, the mark of “true conservatism” is staking out a place to the left of Bernie and the left of AOC….
Now, I don’t dispute the fact that credit card debt is hurting a lot of Americans. And Hawley has a point insofar as how the federal government far too often bails out the banks (and other businesses) when the going gets rough.
But how is capping credit card debt a function of the government? And how would this be any different from a price cap on individual products?
Any arguments for this cockamamie proposal are easily refuted by things Republicans have said previously:
Arguments against capping credit card APR are well-known in the Senate from the last time Republicans defeated similar attempts by Democrats. Then-Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania railed in committee against attempts by “government planners” to set prices, warning that they often trigger “huge unintended consequences, which inevitably harm the people they are supposed to protect.”
Those that seek to cap interest rates, Toomey said, believe that the measures “would result in borrowers getting cheaper credit, but that’s just not the case.” Instead of lower interest rates, he argued, “those most in need would simply lose access to credit. If a lender can’t recoup its costs, it won’t make the loan.”
The reason Americans are being buried by credit card debt has nothing to do with the interest rates being charged by credit card companies and everything to do with Americans spending recklessly as if they were members of Congress instead of real people who eventually need to pay the piper.
Josh Hawley could use his bully pulpit as a U.S. Senator to push the issue of financial literacy and use federal resources to create incentives for local public school districts to include financial literacy in their curricula. Instead, Hawley reached into the socialist playbook. And that, more than anything, speaks to the damage that populism is doing to conservativism and the country.