Berlau in New York Times on Overdraft Fees from Debit Cards – with Misleading Headline

Washington, D.C., September 10, 2009—John Berlau, Director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, was a guest contributor this week to the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” blog on the topic “The Debit Card: Trap or Sound Choice?” However, while he was grateful for the opportunity to participate, he has strong objections to the headline written for his essay.

Below is Berlau’s statement on the headline and the original essay:

“I appreciate the New York Times allowing me the opportunity to participate in its Room for Debate on the subject of debit cards and overdraft fees.  However, I strongly object to the headline, ‘Banks Deserve the Compensation,’ which I did not write and which does not reflect at all the arguments I made in the essay.

“I never argued in the piece that ‘banks deserve the compensation,’ just as I don’t argue that Starbucks ‘deserves’ $5 for a cup of coffee. I said in the essay  that government interference would limit choices and make things worse, that consumers need to  take responsibility and keep track of their bank accounts, and that competition will produce more optimal solutions. What consumers and entrepreneurs ‘deserve’ is freedom of choice.

“I encourage everyone who reads my essay to disregard the misleading headline and instead focus on the substance of my arguments.”


New York Times essay with original headline here.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest group that studies the intersection of regulation, risk, and markets.