published Monday, February 28th, 2011

Cause and effect

Congress enacted a law in 2010 that, among other things, limits penalties charged for making late credit card payments and bans credit card rate hikes on existing balances.

That’s “consumer-friendly,” right?

But Congress didn’t think about the unintended effects of the law. To make up for revenue losses caused by the law, banks are dropping risky customers and imposing higher up-front rates and annual fees on customers with shaky credit histories.

Maybe the law did some good. But good or bad, it should remind us that Congress cannot pass laws in a vacuum. Causes have effects.

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