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Why capitalism must be regulated

Below is only one example; there are countless others.

Fifth Third Bank (profile here) agreed on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, to pay $20 million in fines for “illegally charging customers for unnecessary auto insurance policies” and creating “fake customer accounts” (read story here). Over 35,000 customers were harmed.

The bank had previously been punished for overcharging black and Hispanic customers for auto loans and “illegal credit card practices,” CNN said.

These investigation and penalties are the work of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of U.S. senator and former law professor Elizabeth Warren, and bitterly opposed by Republicans.

Human nature being as it is, people will speed and run red light without traffic laws and cops enforcing them; and businesses and bankers will rip off their own customers if there’s no regulation and oversight.

Capitalism is the most productive economic system yet devised, but the notion it can work without rules and enforcers is nonsensical fantasy. How is “caveat emptor” supposed to work if, like this bank’s victims, you don’t know you’re being cheated? Regulated capitalism works; laissez-faire capitalism does not.

The debate should be over how much regulation is too much or unnecessary, not whether banks and other business should be regulated at all.

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