If Steve Jobs Had Run a Bank

Article excerpt

... would you have heard a peep about fees? This was the man who got the world to stop ripping off the "greedy music companies" and to pay for songs downloaded from the Apple iTunes store instead.

His company also charged top dollar for its products, which were nevertheless eagerly snapped up by millions. He and his shareholders became quite wealthy in the process.

Despite that, the protesters banging drums in parks around the world would, we suspect, have been among those putting flowers in front of Apple Stores to note Jobs' passing.

By contrast, when Bank of America announced that it would begin charging $5 a month to customers who use its debit cards (since rescinded) you would have thought the company had just committed a felony. Bloggers, the media, Congress, even the President of the United States all weighed in with outrage. Yet it was government price control that prompted the bank's action.

Some might question the advisability of the move given the bank's recent history, but it certainly had every right to implement the fee. Private companies in this country, not the government, are supposed to decide what they will charge for their products, within a few broad guidelines. Can you picture the President publicly calling out Apple for charging too much for an iPhone? So why are banks being singled out?

Here's why: One exception to government price controls is the utility sector, and unfortunately a large percentage of people count banks as utilities. …