Posted BY: Stephen Moore
In this administration, it’s always someone else’s fault. Inflation is now the No. 1 concern of voters, so the White House first blamed COVID. Then Donald Trump’s tax cuts. Then Vladimir Putin. Then meatpackers and the poultry industry, Big Oil and pharmaceutical companies.
Now, Democrats have identified a new inflation scapegoat: plastic. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and other credit cards hidden away in your wallet.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has had it out for credit cards for almost two decades, even though over that period, credit cards, which were once reserved for the rich, are now nearly ubiquitous in our society. Many stores don’t even take cash anymore in the post-COVID world. The benefits and conveniences of paying with a plastic card are easily in the tens of billions of dollars to retailers and shoppers. Stores benefit because shoppers don’t have to have cash on hand to make purchases. They also benefit from not having to deal with the exchange of cash, which can lead to theft by unscrupulous employees at the register.
Credit cards are convenient for consumers because we don’t have to walk around with hundreds of dollars in our wallets.
But Democrats allege that the interchange fee that credit card companies charge retailers and merchants for their service on transactions is excessive. This interchange fee typically ranges between about 1% to 3% of the retail price of the transaction. If retailers don’t want to pay the cost because they think it is exorbitant, they don’t have to accept cards and can take cash only. Few retailers don’t take plastic every day to avoid paying the fees. It’s a free country. But the vast majority of retailers see the benefits far exceeding the costs.