It’s obvious to me that the “Durbin Amendment” regulating debit card interchange fees is a big loss for banks and a big win for retailers, but it’s not clear to me that it advances any consumer interest. So I thought it was interesting to see that the National Education Association, America’s larger but lower-profile teacher’s union, has weighed in with a letter (PDF) supporting the banks’ position.
Now I don’t particularly think we should take the NEA’s word for it, but I wanted to call attention to this simply because I think confirmation bias is one of the biggest problems we have on the web. It occurs to me that several bloggers who I normally agree with but who had strong favorable views about the Durbin Amendment that contrasted with mine—Kevin Drum and Mike Konczal in particular—are also people who’ve really taken the lead in making the case that labor unions are a crucial “counterveiling force” to advancing middle class economic interests. So I wonder if any of them are inclined to rethink their views of the swipe issue in light of this.
As of 2:40PM, the universal consensus in comments seems to be that the NEA is on the wrong side of this issue (for some reason or other) rather than that the union represents a counterveiling force that we should listen to. I often disagree with teacher’s unions about education policy issues, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they may be right about this one.