Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Republicans acting like Democrats: Josh Hawley Proposes Bill to Cap Credit Card Interest Rates.

Senator Josh Hawley saluting Jan. 6 rioters
by Rod Williams, Sept. 12, 2023- More and more it is hard to distinguish a Republican from a Democrat on any but social issues.  There was a time when it was Republicans who knew economics was a science and Republicans knew economics.  I am no longer sure that, that is the case.  

U. S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri had introduced a bill to cap credit card interest rates at 18%. Some banks are now charging interest rates as high as 30% and the average credit card interest rate is 24%. Hawley would also ban new fees to prevent credit card companies from using fees to evade the cap, and he would impose penalties on credit card companies that violate the cap.  

“Americans are being crushed under the weight of record credit card debt—and the biggest banks are just getting richer," said Senator Hawley. "The government was quick to bail out the banks just this spring, but has ignored working people struggling to get ahead. Capping the maximum credit card interest rate is fair, common-sense, and gives the working class a chance. (1)” 

The rhetoric even sounds like that used by Democrats ever since I have been observing politics.  Rather than favoring sane rational policies and looking to fix a problem, it appeals to placate the whine of "its-not-fair." This is the populist appeal; someone else is gaming the system and I want to too. 

I understand the criticism of bailing out the big banks, but everything does not come out of the same pot of money and bailing out California's Silicon Valley Bank has nothing to do with credit card interest rates. Price controls never work, and price controls lead to shortages and rationing. If banks can only charge 18% interest on credit cards, then only people's whose credit worthiness justify an 18% credit card rate will get a credit card. 

Hawley is not a dummy; he graduated with honors from Stanford University and went to Yale Law School where he was the president of Yale's Federalist Society. He has an impressive resume. That, however, may not mean he understands basic economics. Or, it could mean he Justs tells people what they want to hear. There is a cynical tongue-in-cheek saying that a true leader finds out which way the mob is running and works himself to the head of the pack. Hawley may be that kind of leader.

In 2021, Hawley joined President Donald and Trump and Senator Bernie Sander in his call for increasing the initial $600 coronavirus relief checks provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to $2,000. Hawley attempted to force a vote to increase the checks, but it was blocked by other Republican senators. (2) Like many Democrats, a new breed of Republicans, including President Donald Trump, apparently think there is no limit to how much money the federal government can spend. 

Hawley is considered by most to be a very conservative Senator. New Republic named him as one of "America’s Worst Right-Wingers." Real Clear Politics profiled him in a piece titled, "Senator Josh Hawley is a True National Conservative." 

Hawley has been one of Trump's staunches supporters and propagators of the big lie of the stolen election. He was one of the first senators to announce that he would object to the certification of the 2020 election. 

When the Senate voted 95-1 to approve the expansion of NATO by allowing membership of Sweden and Finland, the only Senator to vote “no” was Senator Josh Hawley. 

This is what passes for a staunch conservative these days: opposing our successful long-term security arrangement that has kept the peace and contained aggressors, oppose the peaceful transfer of power, and support economic policy indistinguishable from Democrat economic policy such as price controls, and spending money like it grows on trees and there is not tomorrow. 

I am not that kind of conservative. 

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