The skirmish over automated teller machine fees is just plain silly. The irony of the debate should be lost on no one - juxtaposed as it is against the backdrop of the recently enacted, historic financial modernization bill. Those who now sound the call against ATM surcharges appear as bit players on a long-deserted dark stage playing the part of self-selected fools.

Let the lawyers argue the obvious that preemption and supremacy of the National Banking Act offers cover to national banks. The rest of us should, at the very least, expect members of Congress - even a "staunch liberal" [American Banker, Nov. 19] representative like Maxine Waters of California - to understand basic tenets of economics. After all, the frequently liberal editorial page of The New York Times [Nov. 21] wasn't duped by this latest guise of socialism.

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