The Huffington Post has some excellent coverage of Senator Harkin's amendment to cap ATM fees at 50 cents. While they're at it why not cap house prices at $250,000 (but only for people who don't yet own them), restaurant meals at $9.99, cars at $10,000, and gas at $1.99 a gallon? Or better yet, if the politicians are going to cut ATM fees from $2 to 50 cents, why don't they also cut their own source of revenue, taxes, by three quarters as well? No one likes ATM fees, but consumers who pay attention can usually avoid the fees by going to the bank where they have an account or by banking with a bank that reimburses the ATM fees charged by other banks.
Mr. Harkin's effort failed, but it betrays a lack of respect for the principle that a firm should be free to charge whatever price it wants for a service that no one is forcing anyone to use. If the ATM fees are too high, new banks will enter and try to appeal to consumers on the basis of low or nonexistent ATM fees. We covered this in more detail earlier, back when it was Senator Schumer who was pressing the issue.