Taking a few bucks out of an ATM is as reflexive to most of us as breathing. Most of us assume that those in charge of crafting financial regulations are intimately familiar with the financial issues which face average citizens on a day to day basis. This apparently is not the case. The Washington Post has illustrated just how out of touch our lawmakers are with a piece on the ATM habits of those in charge of keeping large banks in check when it comes to gouging us with fees. Prominent among these unpopular fees are the multiple charges you often see assessed for the privilege of withdrawing your own money from an ATM.
Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa has attempted to address this issue by putting forth legislation which would limit these fees — transaction charges which oftentimes can equate to over 10% of the withdrawal. His proposal seems ultimately fair and necessary — but for some reason it fell upon deaf (both literally and figuratively) ears of fellow aging Senators who are not quite familiar with these ATM contraptions. Powerful Senator Ben Nelson admits he has never once used an ATM during his entire life. Fellow Senator Mike Johanns concedes he can count on one hand the number of times he’s withdrawn money via an ATM.
Charles Grassley, the ranking GOP member on the applicable Senate Finance Committee, also admits that he has never used his bank card to withdraw cash. This goes a long way to explain the apathy on the part of our lawmakers concerning the issues which most effect the average person. It would be a safe assumption that if these Senators were charged a $3 fee to draw their cash at a teller, then Senator Harkin’s amendment would be taken a lot more seriously.