President Joe Biden on Monday announced his administration’s plan to lower costs and increase competition across industries.
Speaking at a meeting of the White House Competitiveness Council, the president said unnecessary hidden costs, or “vanity costs,” affect family budgets.
“Families should not have to pay these costs,” Biden said. “All of this takes money out of the pocket of the average American.”
The council was established by the Biden administration “to promote competition with the goal of lowering consumer prices and raising wages for workers and promoting innovation in the economy,” the president said. “We’ve made real progress,” he added.
Mr. Biden called on banks to pay excessive fees for checking accounts, late credit card payments, hotel maintenance fees, and termination fees charged by cell phone and Internet service providers.
Three-quarters of America’s 20 largest banks are waiving fees of up to $50 on cashed checks because of the council’s efforts, he said. Mr. Biden said the changes put the government on track to reduce overdraft fees by $3 billion a year.
The council also took the initiative for cooperation between the meat and poultry industries, helping small meat producers to compete with the big four meat companies that set the prices in the markets.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a member of the Competitiveness Council, said Monday that the USDA is “focused on creating new, fairer and stronger markets, protecting producers and reducing food costs, and we’re showing again today that we’re using every tool at our disposal to do that.”
The Federal Communications Commission also orders cell phone and Internet companies to charge consumers at the time of purchase. The Department of Transportation announced new rules requiring airlines and search sites to disclose hidden fees up front, the president said.
Mr. Biden said the measures would help reduce inflation and lower family costs.
“If companies have to compete — it’s a simple idea. If they have to compete, they sell — they make better products and — guess what? — the price goes down. It doesn’t go up when there’s competition,” he said.