Self-proclaimed Democratic Socialists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 2020 president hopeful Bernie Sanders are calling out big banks as “modern-day loan sharks,” while also calling on Congress to cap credit card interest rates at 15%.
The pair is set to propose legislation in both chambers of Congress today capping the rates on credit cards as well as consumer loans, and also letting post offices offer basic banking services like checking and savings accounts, and offering loans.
Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont, told the Washington Post that he’s tired of seeing big banks, which were bailed out by taxpayers a decade ago, take advantage of those same taxpayers by charging high interest rates.
“Wall Street today makes tens of billions from people at outrageous interest rates,” he told the Washington Post.
Ocasio-Cortez, a Representative from the Bronx, will introduce the House version of the bill, which no doubt will meet strong opposition from the banking industry.
Big banks made $113 billion in interest and fees from credit cards last year, a 35% increase since 2012, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Banks are currently charging an average interest rate of 17.17% on credit card.
“Today’s loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates,” the pair wrote in a statement.
Of course, with Republicans in control of the Senate, the new proposals have no chance of getting passed anytime soon.
“I am sure it will be criticized,” Sanders said of the legislation. “I have a radical idea: Maybe Congress should stand up for ordinary people.”
Sanders is sure to make taking on Wall Street a big part of his platform in the 2020 Democratic Primary and beyond, if he wins (he is running just behind former Vice President Joe Biden in most polls). Sanders did much the same in unsuccessfully taking on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race.
And it looks as if he plans on teaming up with Ocasio-Cortez, a laughingstock to those on the right who, at age 29, has strong appeal among young voters.