It’s no secret that the Biden Administration and Democrats in Washington are determined to do everything they can to undo all the good work President Trump accomplished. Just check the prices at the gas pump or the grocery store. Less talked about but equally alarming is the Democrats’ soft stance on the greatest national security threat our country faces: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Thankfully, our Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy have a strong track record of standing up to Chinese aggression. We’ll need them to continue, as Democrats and progressives in Congress are currently pursuing policies that would strengthen China’s economic standing and threaten the financial security of hard working Americans. The liberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is pushing for new regulations on credit cards that could enable the Chinese to have access to Americans’ personal financial transaction data.
Twelve years ago, as part of the terrible and costly Dodd-Frank banking bill, Durbin successfully included an amendment that mandated strict price controls and routing restrictions on debit cards. Those changes required small businesses to link with at least two unaffiliated network providers. One such provider, which now processes debit transactions in the United States, is China UnionPay, the world’s largest card network and one with deep ties to the CCP.
Expanding these regulations from debit to credit would be a big win for UnionPay and the CCP. There are well documented concerns related to data security and privacy with Chinese companies that have close ties to the government, including corporate espionage, intellectual property theft, and data privacy violations. If UnionPay is allowed to process Americans’ credit card transactions, it would put millions of Americans at risk of unknowingly letting the Chinese government take their private financial data.
Beyond the national security concerns, a policy of federally-mandated price controls and regulations on credit transactions would seriously harm consumers and small business owners alike. Americans would lose access to credit cards without annual fees, seriously increasing the cost of a credit card and taking away access to credit from millions of working class folks. Rewards programs that people use for hotels, flights and more are worth about $50 billion a year to consumers, and those would all be put at risk. Aside from the Chinese government and UnionPay, the only real winners here would be massive corporations like Amazon and Walmart that continue to squeeze out mom and pop stores. Yet again, regular Main Streets across our state will suffer, and the Chinese will get richer.
Every piece of evidence – and basic economics – shows that price controls just don’t work. Those Dodd-Frank regulations on debit cards never actually lowered prices for consumers. According to a study out of Boston University, low-income consumers lost $160 a year due to a loss of benefits. It left a million Americans without a checking account when banks were forced to end free checking accounts. Another study, from the Federal Reserve, found that the availability of free checking accounts declined by 35 percent at banks that were directly targeted by the Durbin Amendment.
This set of policies would be a disaster for Louisianan customers and businesses, and for our country as a whole. With soaring inflation and record high prices, the last thing we need is for Democrat politicians in Washington to take away Americans’ access to credit cards and put their financial data at risk to the Chinese government. We need continued leadership from Cassidy and Kennedy on this issue to protect Louisiana consumers and our financial data. We need Cassidy and Kennedy to maintain their commitment to our conservative values, and reject costly and wrong ideas like Senator Durbin’s.