Fox News' Tucker Carlson Praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders For Work On Loan Shark Prevention Act

Fox News host Tucker Carlson offered rare praise for a pair of Democrats on his show Friday, saying a bill introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders was the right move to protect people from big banks.

The comments came at the end of the Tucker Carlson Show where the host referenced the duo's Loan Shark Prevention Act, a bill that would enforce a 15 percent cap on consumer loans and credit cards. Payday loans, included in the consumer loan definition, can see interest rates over 500 percent in some states.

"Today's loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates," Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement that was issued Thursday along with the proposed two-page bill.

On Friday, Carlson called the movie "indisputably right," though he lamented that Republicans had not tackled the issue before now and left it to "a couple of childish socialists."

Both Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have previously described themselves as democratic socialists.

"No doubt many Republicans in Congress will oppose this bill, if only because of who sponsored it. Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are obviously demagogues. They don't mean half of what they say, the other half they don't really understand. They're not impressive. But on this one issue, they are absolutely, indisputably right," Carlson said, going on to refer to religious condemnation of ursury, a term used in the Bible that refers to lending money with very high interest rates.

"High interest rates exploit the weak. Credit card debt destroys people –– not just chronically irresponsible people, but good people, decent people. Probably some people you know. Maybe a lot of people you know. What the banks are doing is disgusting and it's wrong," Carlson added.

According to numbers released by the Federal Reserve earlier this year, Americans owe $1.05 trillion in credit card debt, up from $854 million in 2015. The media interest rate on credit cards sits at 21 percent while banks borrow from the Federal Reserve at a 3 percent interest rate.

A USA Today report, which cites financial analyst Ted Rossman, indicates that 40 percent of Americans can, and do, pay off the monthly balance on their credit cards, while 60 percent do not have the income to eliminate a high balance each month. Rossman said the average American has a balance of $6,354 on their credit cards.

A 2017 survey indicated that individuals in Alaska, Connecticut, Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland carry the highest credit card balances in the United States. West Virginia, North Dakota, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Iowa had the lowest.

"The bill will officially cap all interest rates on consumer loans at 15 percent — lowering the credit card rates of millions of Americans, and functionally destroying the predatory 'payday' loan industry," Ocasio-Cortez's staff said in an email sent to her supporters on Thursday.

"Predatory lending and our credit rating system targets lower income Americans and people who are living paycheck to paycheck with manipulative practices and hidden fees — trapping millions in a cycle of systemic poverty as their hard-earned money is funneled into exorbitant bonuses for Wall Street executives."

Both lawmakers also tweeted about the bill.

"There's no reason that capping interest rates ought to be a left-wing issue," Carlson said in his monologue. "Most normal people agree with it, overwhelmingly." Carlson then cited South Dakota, a conservative state that elected President Donald Trump by a 30 point margin in 2016, but also voted that year to cap credit card and payday loan interest rates.

Carlson went on to outline Republican legislation in 1991 that would have capped credit card interest at 14 percent where lobbying and a decline in the stock market saw the GOP kill the bill.

"(Republicans in Washington) are on autopilot, siding with big banks rather than their own voters," Carlson said after stating that financial institutions are now supporting Democrats rather than the GOP. "It's a lunatic strategy. It won't end well. What happens when you refuse to give people what they desperately need? They go elsewhere. Republicans should not be surprised when that happens."

Tucker Carlson, Liberals
Tucker Carlson speaks during Politicon 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018. Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon
Fox News' Tucker Carlson Praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders For Work On Loan Shark Prevention Act | U.S.