Bank fee frenzy

Banks don’t want you to blame them for their rising user fees, says David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times. “Blame shareholders,” they say. When Bank of America raised its nonmember ATM withdrawal fee to $3, from $2, the “muttering about money-grubbing financial institutions that nickel-and-dime people to death” missed the larger story. Banks got about 42 percent of their revenue from “noninterest income” last year—mostly fees. For example, banks charge customers $17.5 billion a year in overdraft fees—for overdrawing $15.8 billion. You may say “highway robbery,” but bankers say “business as usual.”

Belated Fed confidential

Now that President Bush is unpopular, Alan Greenspan is suddenly very candid, says Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. In his new book, the former Fed chairman is, uncharacteristically, very clear: he “fiercely” opposed Bush’s tax cuts; deficits DO matter; the Iraq war is about oil. “Now you tell us?” Does Greenspan’s “barely penetrable syntax” and famously “oblique phraseology” while in office somehow “seem less amusing in retrospect”? Greenspan owed “the American taxpayer” his “real-time wisdom.” Instead, his publisher pays him “$8.5 million to tell the American people what he should have told them when his views might have had an impact.”