One universal rule of economics is that government wage and price controls are ALWAYS a bad idea. CTUP senior fellow and University of Chicago ace economist Casey Mulligan in the Washington Examiner laments that so many Republicans who signed on to this awful price controls bill were tricked by Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin:
Earlier versions of the act simply capped the credit card fee — an obvious price control. As explained in the Wall Street Journal, previous price controls like this have proven “a disaster for consumers [and] a windfall for mega-retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Target.”
But Durbin has convinced some Republicans to sign on to a new version of the bill by disguising the price control as a “routing mandate.” The mandate would allow merchants to select the network, rather than the issuer. Networks would have no choice but to cater to merchants, who would rather not grant consumer discounts. This would begin the death spiral for the reward programs and fraud protections that consumers love and have passed the market test.