By Murray Edwards

In towns throughout America, a familiar story unfolds. Once bustling Main Streets were home to thriving small businesses, until corporate behemoths arrived, undercutting their livelihoods. Today, a fresh menace emerges for these small enterprises: the Durbin-Marshall (S.1838) credit card legislation.

The bill stands ready to reshape the credit card routing system, purportedly aiming to “foster competition” and offer financial advantages to small businesses, community banks, and consumers. However, closer examination reveals quite the contrary.

As Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) align with mega-store interests poised to reap billions, research from the University of Miami casts a grim outlook for small-scale retailers. While the top 100 largest stores stand to gain almost $3 billion, with a staggering $1.2 billion funneling to the big box retailers like Walmart, Target and Home Depot – businesses generating less than $500 million in revenue would likely experience minimal, if any, benefits.

Despite assurances of benefits, the study also reveals that small businesses could end up forfeiting their own gains. Small business owners currently reap around $12 billion in credit card rewards when they use credit for purchases. The bill puts these rewards programs in jeopardy, critical for both businesses and consumers. By escalating costs and endangering vital programs like cash back, airline points, and credit card rewards, already struggling Americans would face even greater financial burdens.

Numerous industries and organizations are now recognizing the true nature of this bill – detrimental to consumers, our economy, and our communities. Those who dare to voice opposition to the legislation often encounter additional threats and repercussions.

A recent report released by Airlines for America has strongly opposed the Durbin-Marshall bill, emphasizing the considerable damage it could inflict on both the travel and tourism sectors as well as the broader U.S. economy.

Recognizing the adverse effects the Durbin-Marshall bill could have on their constituents, the travel and tourism sector, and the overall economic well-being, the airline industry has vocally opposed the proposed legislation.

In response, Senators Durbin and Marshall have initiated a retaliatory campaign, urging the Transportation Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to scrutinize the airline industry’s frequent flyer and loyalty programs. Interestingly, Senator Marshall’s stance comes shortly after publicly endorsing the Don’t Weaponize the IRS Act just a few years ago. Regardless of the threats posed by Durbin and Marshall, the reality remains unchanged.

This bill will not foster financial competition, benefit American consumers, or aid small businesses; instead, it will further enrich corporate giants at the expense of others. This legislation hurts consumers by increasing costs, weakening payment security, harming financial institutions, reducing access to credit for those who need it the most and ending popular credit card rewards programs.

 

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