Quote of the Day: How Your Bank Screws You

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From Felix Salmon, writing about the day his checking account balance briefly went negative:

By this point, it was abundantly clear what was going on: Citi was doing everything in its power to try to keep me in the dark as to the amount that I had unwittingly borrowed, and to try to ensure that I remained in debt to them for as long as possible.

Or maybe the real money quote is this: “All of which is to say that retail banking is broken, it’s broken everywhere.” That includes Britain, where Felix reports that banks are on the hook for as much as $30 billion in compensation for selling worthless “insurance” to their customers for the past 15 years. And you can add to the list this weekend’s New York Times piece about the endless nickel and dime fees that hourly workers increasingly get dinged with because they’re paid via debit cards.

I dunno. Maybe Matt Yglesias is right. Maybe we really do need some kind of basic, no-frills postal banking service. I’m really not a fan of the idea, but I’m also increasingly skeptical that any amount of regulation can prod banks to act decently toward their customers. They’re just too addicted to making money by screwing people, and those of us in the middle class (who mostly benefit from this system, even if we too get screwed occasionally) are too willing to put up with it. The poor and the working class are basically fighting a pitched battle against Republicans, big bankers, and the upper middle class, and that’s not a fight they’re ever likely to win.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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