Tag Archives: Dodd-Frank

And Now, Celebrating the Plutocracy

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.

Your Congress at Work

The Congressional GOP is running the show in Washington, and clearly feeling its oats.  They aren’t even embarrassed about moving quickly to pollute the environment and remove rules intended to protect Americans from a variety of threats, physical and financial.

As Vox reports,

With everything that Republicans want to do — repeal Obamacare, overhaul the tax code — it might seem odd that one of Congress’ very first acts would be to kill an obscure Obama-era regulation that restricts coal companies from dumping mining waste into streams and waterways.

But that is indeed what’s going on. On Thursday, the Senate voted 54-45 to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule” — using a regulation-killing tool known as the Congressional Review Act. The House took a similar vote yesterday, and if President Trump agrees, the stream protection rule will be dead. Coal companies will now have a freer hand in dumping mining debris in streams.

NPR has more not-good news:

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.

The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama’s regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act..The National Rifle Association had pushed for the repeal, and Republicans argued it infringed upon Second Amendment rights by denying due process.

Evidently, the GOP’s allegiance to the NRA trumps (pardon the phrase) its pious concern for “right to life” –at least when that right is asserted by those of us who are already born..

Meanwhile, Investment News explains Trump’s assault on fiduciary responsibility and Dodd-Frank.

President Donald J. Trump today will halt a Labor Department regulation that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. Mr. Trump’s order will give the new administration time to review the change, known as the fiduciary rule.

He will also order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said, signing an executive action designed to significantly scale back the regulatory system put in place in 2010.

Taken together, the actions are designed to lay down the Trump administration’s approach to financial markets, with an emphasis on removing regulatory burdens and opening up investor options, said the White House official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The orders are the most aggressive steps yet by Mr. Trump to loosen regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key positions.

I’m sure that all those Trump voters who claim that they weren’t voting for his bigotry, his misogyny or his xenophobia, but because they believed his promise to “drain the swamp,” will be so pleased….

At least we can all see clearly now just who the Trump/GOP’s real constituents are.