Is Biden responsible for the loose laws controlling Delaware credit card companies?

“Everyone knows” that the reason 9/10 of your credit card offers come with a Wilmington, Delaware return address is because Delaware has far fewer regulations than most states on credit card companies opperating out of there. So all the credit card companies moved there to more easily screw over the little guy.

Obama alluded to this in the second presidential debate, and a few Dopers winced, thinking that he opened an opportunity for McCain to slam Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, a US Senator from Delaware, as being at least partially responsible for this. (McCain didn’t, by the way, take the opportunity.)

My question, basically, is: huh? Biden’s a US Senator, and has been for, you know, forever. Okay, since 1973, which is longer than I’ve been alive. What part of his job is regulating credit card companies in his home state? Wouldn’t that be the job of Delaware’s *state *legislators?

But I’ll be the first to admit I’m an idiot when it comes to these things, so please, give me the Straight Dope.

If nothing else, I suggest you check out Frontline’s fascinating “The Secret History of the Credit Card”, watchable on the PBS website. I don’t recall it mentioning Biden, but Delaware sure jumped on the credit-card bandwagon.

Delaware’s credit card situation regarding regulation is simply a vcontinuation of Delaware’s approach to corporations and corporate law, generally. That situation predated Biden’s election to the (U.S.) Senate (and may have predated Biden’s birth).

(Related trivia: Aside from the U.S. Steel fleet, registered in Pittsburgh, the overwhelming majority of U.S. ships on the Great Lakes have a “home port” (i.e., registry city) of Wilmington, Delaware. Delaware has been luring companies to incorporate in that state for decades.)

I won’t offer comment on the last line above.

Why would ‘all the credit card companies move there to screw the little guy’?

What type of alleged screwing was taking place prior to their move that they disallowed from doing, and what type of screwing is taking place now from the great Blue Hen State?

Credit card companies in Delaware can charge higher interest rates and fees than in many states, and they can also extend credit to people who would be excluded in many other states. Read here for more.

I knew that already. My question (and it looks like it’s not much of a Great Debate) is whether or not Biden should be held politically responsible for such a situation IF one assumes it’s a bad thing for customers - as Obama did by using it as a negative example of what could happen if McCain successfully removes the interstate restrictions on health insurance policies. If you’re saying X is bad, and your running mate is responsible for X, that’s sloppy debating practice at best, and political suicide at worst.

(In this case, I suspect it was neither - even assuming Biden *had *been responsible for this, for McCain to have called him on this, he’d have to agree it was Bad, and the situations are so very analagous (at least superficially), he’d have to admit his idea was Bad, too.)

Isn’t that a good thing?

Credit card companies moved to Delaware for the lax governing laws. Biden did not cause that. But if he did not back the biggest businesses in his state he would not have been elected and re elected. It is not dissimilar from Michigan politicians fighting higher CAFE stds. They would throw their money and power behind your opponent if you did not fight for them and you would go away. It is just the nasty business of politics.

It’s generally seen as not entirely reputable or good business practice to extend credit to people who’s credit history is bad enough that they probably won’t pay it back.

I’m not sure there’s a direct comparison between health insurers - where Obama’s point was that they’ll all go to the state where they have to offer the fewest benefits - and credit card companies here.

This is how the current economic situation came to be, if I’ve understood the past few weeks correctly, only with mortgages and not credit cards.

ETA: In part, anyway. I realize it’s more complicated.

Biden is a federal legislator, not a state one. He has nothing to do with Delaware state law.

There are many benefits to incorporating in Delaware.The thing I can’t understand is the registration of boats and yachts in Delaware: 90% of the boats at my marina have Delaware registrations: why is it allowed to register a boat in another state, and actually NEVER have the boat physically there?:confused:

It most certainly is not good practice. And there will be a quick and self-correcting mechanism for the credit card companies called ‘losses’, and if those cumulative losses become large enough, ‘bankruptcy’.

How is that screwing the little guy?

Because it means that the “little guy”, who couldn’t afford decent credit terms in the first place, and who ended up getting credit cards mortgages with abnormally high interest rates, now finds himself deeper in debt, with even worse credit, and risks the forfeiture of his home and posessions. Predatory lending leaves the borrower worse off than he was in the first place.

I still don’t get it. Apologies.

He couldn’t afford decent credit terms, but he got them anyway? I don’t understand that at all.

End of thread.

Not quite. Lots of Democrats were pretty upset with Biden for his support of the bankruptcy bill - favored of course by his state’s dominant industry.

That has what to do with the state laws controlling Delaware credit card companies?

Biden has nothing to do with Delaware state law. That’s the end of it.

Well, MBNA sure sees fit to contribute heavily into Biden’s pockets. Those contributions don’t come without influence strings attached.