Founders just couldn’t predict the future

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The Constitution was written with no mention of what kind of arms were “intended,” as it is silent on what specifically constitutes speech or the press. Private citizens purchased cannons in the 18th century.Presses printed one page at a time. Should we limit freedom of the press to one-page-at-a-time presses? Speech was by mouth. Should we exclude electronic means of delivering speech as protected? Do movies and TV count under free speech?The Founders could not have dreamed of email and texting. If we are going to “stop using 18th century laws to regulate 21st century weapons” and limit our rights to the means by which they were exercised in the 18th century, why not use that same logic to limit the means by which we enjoy our other freedoms today?Now, because there was no postal service in the 18th century, I will put down my quill pen, roll this parchment, melt some sealing wax, and call my attendant to hand courier this letter to The Gazette — by horse and wagon.DAVE HARTLathamMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Albany County warns of COVID increaseEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census It’s hilarious, isn’t it, when people presume to know what our Founding Fathers “intended.” There’s this argument that goes around every time gun violence makes the news that the Founders had only single-fire muskets and bayonets in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment, and “Stop using 18th century laws to regulate 21st century weapons” and all that.last_img read more

Public outcry kept interest rates down, inquiry into big banks finds

first_imgAustralia’s big four banks were all part of the inquiry which is looking into residentialA FEDERAL inquiry investigating the decision making processes of Australia’s biggest banks has found that public outcry was sometimes the only thing preventing them from pushing mortgage rates higher.And the interim report of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s residential mortgage price inquiry also highlighted the need for greater transparency in mortgage rate discounts offered by the banks.The interim report, out today, pointed to public criticism and media attention acting as a handbrake on bank ambitions to raise rates to boost margins.“Expectations of strong public reaction have acted as a constraint on pricing decisions,” it said, “ … without this reaction residential mortgage interest rates could have been higher and/or increases could have been introduced earlier.”“ … In one case, for example, an Inquiry Bank began considering an interest-rate increase, but staff recommended deferring any increase until a ‘trigger event’ occurred (either an Official Cash Rate change or a rate change by a big four bank) due to concerns about adverse publicity,” the report said. “At a different Inquiry Bank, as another example, a proposal to increase fees was substantially modified due to concern about reputational damage.”The inquiry also warned that there were “signs of a lack of vigorous price competition” among the Big Four banks in particular.“The internal documents of the Inquiry Banks reviewed by the ACCC to date reveal a lack of vigorous price competition between the Inquiry Banks, and the big four banks in particular.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus20 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market20 hours ago“The pricing behaviour of each of the Inquiry Banks appears more consistent with ‘accommodating’ a shared interest in avoiding the disruption of mutually beneficial pricing outcomes, rather than consistently vying for market share by offering the lowest interest rates.”The Big Four banks make up the lion’s share of the market, around three quarters.The Australian Banking Association was quick to defend competition levels in the banking sector, stating there were “over 140 providers, offering over 4,000 home loan products”.“Truly a vast and competitive market for Australians to choose a home loan.”It also said there were “very high levels of discounting in the Australian home loan market”.“It’s clear that competition is delivering better deals for customers, shopping around works and Australians should continue to do so to get the best discounts on the advertised rate.”The ABA said Galaxy research had found that three million people had switched banks in the last three years — with two-thirds finding that “switching was an easy process”.The ACCC was expected to issue its final report after the end of this financial year, delving into how the banks passed on the cost of the Major Bank Levy, as well as how smaller lenders can compete with bigger banks and how consumers can change residential mortgage pricing.last_img read more