Andy Borowitz said it best: Greed alone is destructive but greed combined with idiocy is catastrophic.
Which brings me to this recent report in the Indianapolis Business Journal.
A House panel on Thursday approved Republican-written legislation that would gut much of the Dodd-Frank law enacted by Democrats and signed by Obama in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession. The party-line vote in the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee was 34-26.
House Republicans based their desire to repeal Dodd-Frank on the “costs of compliance.”
Evidently, they aren’t worried about the economic or human costs of the rampant financial misbehaviors that Dodd-Frank was enacted to control.
President Donald Trump has denounced Dodd-Frank with his usual “eloquence” (cough, cough), promising that his administration would “do a big number” on it. (I think that’s what’s called “thug speak”…)
Vox has also reported on a number of GOP efforts to once-again deregulate Wall Street; it details a bill that “would do more to deregulate the banking industry than any single piece of legislation in a generation.”
Because that worked out so well….
Republicans on the House Finance Committee have hammered away at a mammoth 593-page bill called the Financial Choice Act that the bulk of the GOP caucus is expected to get behind. The committee already moved the bill to the “markup” phase on Wednesday.
“I think this has a very good chance of passing. There are a lot of Democrats who are going to be supporting this,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said in an interview. “Even Democrats have bankers in their districts.”
Of course, Inhofe seems overly optimistic. Congressional Democrats are expected to march in lockstep against the banking bill, which would make it difficult for Republicans to get the 60 votes they’d need to get the Choice Act through the Senate.
Financial experts have called the measure radical. It eliminates most of the banking oversight passed during the Obama administration, but it goes much further, “rolling back oversight in a way that could dramatically exacerbate the likelihood of another financial crisis, according to experts in financial regulation.”
The Choice Act would also gut the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). As Mike Konczal wrote for Vox, the CFPB has won millions from big corporations by suing those who use “deceptive practices” for their customers. Hensarling’s bill wouldn’t get rid of CFPB entirely, but advocates say it would effectively render the agency powerless by letting Congress control its funding, allowing the White House to fire the agency’s director at will, and, perhaps most importantly, stripping it of a broad range of rulemaking authority.
There’s much, much more. The bill would split the Federal Reserve in half and prevent it from coordinating financial regulations and monetary policy; that, according to banking experts, would make bubbles more likely — and more dangerous to the economy.
Borowitz is right. Greed and idiocy are a lethal combination.