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Rubio uses meme that regulations are to blame for new debit card fees

In a letter to the editor printed in last week’s St. Petersburg Times, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., picked up a recent conservative meme that blames Bank of America’s new debit card fees on federal regulations.

According to the letter Rubio wrote:

In June, this paper accused me of putting “the financial interests of the nation’s biggest banks before small retailers and consumers” when I voted to delay an onerous regulation that I feared would increase banking fees and hit the wallets of Americans who are already struggling in this economy.

Last week, Bank of America announced it would implement a $5 monthly fee for those using debit cards. If you use your debit card just once — to buy groceries, gas or school supplies for your children — you will be charged the $5 fee. Bank of America is not the first bank to charge for checking accounts, as SunTrust started charging a $5 fee on its checking accounts this summer and Regions Financial will start a $4 fee next month.

At a time when Florida’s unemployment rate remains above 10 percent, we should be easing the burden of government regulation and lowering the costs of financial transactions in the process. Unfortunately, consumers are feeling the costs of a government that has extended its reach further into the economy with the so-called Wall Street “reform” bill.

Rubio is one of the latest conservative politicians making this claim. Last week, Senate candidate Adam Hasner wrote that banks were “forced to charge customers new fees due to the negative and costly requirements associated with the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, in particular the ‘Durbin Tax,’” in a campaign fundraising email.

The subject of new debit card fees is just one of the issues that has protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement rallying all over the country — including in Florida. Cities across the state and country are mobilizing in protest of the country’s rising income inequality.

Big banks in the U.S. are currently seeing their highest profits since the beginning of the recession. However, unemployment and poverty remains pervasive throughout the country.

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