Once again, the volcanic clouds of chaos-ash emanating from Mount Trump at all times have obscured real news that we should care about. But we’re all distracted, panicked, and immobilized by the tiny-handed “ratings machine” that leads the free world, and the unnecessary drama he thrives on.
While we were all glued to our TVs watching the Comey hearings yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 233-186 for a bill that would undo much of Dodd-Frank. The Comey hearings will ultimately have no effect on your life, but the repeal of Dodd-Frank will. If we were hoping to have our outrage validated, we were watching the wrong show.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as we apparently no longer remember, was passed after the 2008 financial crisis to try to rein in the excesses of Wall Street that very nearly caused a worldwide economic collapse.
The bill attempts to prevent predatory mortgage lending, restrict banks from making investments for themselves using your insured deposits, governs consumer lending by requiring clear disclosure of terms, separates the commercial and investment functions of a bank, regulates derivatives such as the credit default swaps that were widely blamed for contributing to the 2008 financial crisis, and so on.
It was a bit like closing the barn door after the horses had gone, but trying to make it less likely that the barn door will be left open next time.
The House vote was, of course, along strict party lines. Walter Jones of North Carolina was the only Republican to vote against it. Maxine Waters of California said, “They are setting the stage for Wall Street to run amok and cause another financial crisis.”
This WaPo piece says,
Democrats defended the Dodd-Frank law, saying it has meant financial security for millions of people and that undoing it would encourage the kind of risky lending practices that invite future economic shocks.
They also oppose efforts to sharply curtail a consumer protection agency’s power to pursue companies that it determines have participated in unfair or deceptive practices in their financial products and services. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has returned $29 billion to 12 million consumers who were victims of deceptive marketing, discriminatory lending or other financial wrongdoing.
“All we’re doing is spending our time taking away protections for the American people and their futures. Have we learned nothing?” asked Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Shortly after inauguration, Trump promised to do a “big number on Dodd-Frank”, calling it a “disaster”, the same term he uses to describe just about everything he doesn’t like. He’s attempting to deliver on yet another idiotic promise meant to accelerate the transfer of wealth from the many to the few, and the House of Representatives is proving a willing tool. Hopefully, the Senate will prevent Trump’s “big number” from doing further damage.
A lot of us were hoping Comey would do a “big number” on Trump. If only.