Here's the unofficial motto of the NDP: When in doubt attack the banks.
And so no one should be surprised that NDP leader Jack Layton, his party floundering in the polls, has come out flailing against the big, bad banks.
More specifically Layton wants to ban banks from charging fees when customers use automatic teller machines.
"We believe it's gouging when a person comes up and they want $40 or $60 of their cash and a bank is charging them $1.50 or $2, $2.50," Layton said. "That's a rate of payment which is very, very high -- and unfair."
And Layton points out that "ordinary families work hard for their money. If they want to take a few dollars out to go to the grocery store, the banks shouldn't be keeping $1.50 or $2 or any of that money."
Great stuff if you're into populist left-wing rhetoric.
But let's face it, when it comes to gouging consumers, banks and their ATM fees are small potatoes.
If Jack Layton really wants to protect "ordinary families" he ought to be railing against the biggest gouger of them all: the government.
After all, it's governments that hits you with the GST and PST every time you make a purchase; here in Ontario that amounts to 15 percent of the bill.
And then there's the outrageous government fee know as "income tax", that devours a large chunk of the take home of Canadian families.
At least I can choose whether or not to use an ATM; but I have no choice when it comes to taxes.