Mnuchin: Dodd-Frank Reform “Number One Priority”
It was announced Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Steven Mnunchin, formally with Goldman Sachs, to the lead the Treasury. Following the announcement, Mnuchin wasted no time laying out his general priorities for financial services reforms in 2017, which included reforming the Dodd-Frank Act and the Volcker Rule in particular, easing the burden on regional banks, and potentially returning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private control.
Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday, Mnunchin expressed intentions to target the costly and burdensome Dodd-Frank Act, stating:
“The number one problem with Dodd-Frank is it’s way to complicated and it cuts back lending, so we want to strip back parts of Dodd-Frank that prevent banks from lending and that will be the number one priority on the regulatory side.”
Since enactment over six years ago, the Dodd-Frank Act has unleashed a slew of costly and burdensome regulations that have forced many community banks out of the market, chilled small business lending, and general reduced American financial competitiveness, among other problems.
Mnuchin will be in good company for prioritizing Dodd-Frank reform next year, as President-elect Trump has already vowed to “dismantle Dodd-Frank” and freeze or scrap other financial regulations such as the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule.
President Trump and Mnuchin will have their work cut out for them somewhat, as House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling has laid out a financial reform blueprint with the Financial CHOICE Act he introduced this year.
Hernsarling’s CHOICE Act looks to repeal burdensome regulations such as the Volcker Rule and Durbin Amendment, and rein in out of control regulators such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Financial Stability Oversight Council, in addition to a number of other reforms.
Photo credit: Woodley Wonder Works
ATR Statement on EPA’s Newly Released Fuel Economy Standards
Washington – ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement this week in response to the EPA’s unprecedented push to finalize strict new fuel-economy standards for 2022-2025:
“The EPA’s push this week to finalize burdensome and costly new fuel-economy standards is clearly an affront to the incoming Trump administration. The EPA’s actions disregard the appropriate and in-depth analysis needed to ensure that the new standards take into account fuel efficiency, affordability, and the impact on the economy.
“The overly strict standards proposed by the EPA will only make cars and trucks increasingly more expensive and unaffordable for American consumers. As a result, American families and workers will be forced to look to less efficient and less safe used cars and trucks.
“Such stringent and premature standards are unrealistic, and effectively put the government in between consumer choice and American mobility.”
Trump has his team looking at those regulations which are unduly oppressive and will be immediately withdrawn.
This one will probably be among the first to go.
Top 5 Financial Regulations Trump Should Repeal
Throughout his campaign Donald Trump pledged to repeal and “dismantle” burdensome financial regulations such as the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary rule” and regulations enacted under the Dodd-Frank Act. Now that President-elect Trump has clinched the Whitehouse and has the backing of a Republican House and Senate, he now has the ability to act on his campaign pledge.
Looking ahead to 2017, there are five financial reforms that Trump can undertake to relieve the burdensome and costly regulatory impact left over from the Obama administration.
- Repeal the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule. Trump should look to repeal the DOL’s costly fiduciary rule before it takes effect April 2017. The massive rule spans over 1000 pages and reduces the ability of financial advisors to give advice to IRA and 401(k) holders. Estimates show the fiduciary rule could disqualify up to 7 million IRA holders from investment advice, and reduce the number of IRAs opened annually by up to 400,000.
- Repeal the Durbin Amendment. The Durbin Amendment, passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, requires the Federal Reserve to fix the price of fees charged to retailers for debit card processing. Prior to Dodd-Frank, issuers of debit cards received a fee from the merchant to offset the cost of running the debit card system. This has increased the cost of accepting debit cards for many small businesses, which in turn pass those costs onto consumers.
- Repeal the Volcker Rule. Passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker Rule, named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, limits the type of trading activities that banks can engage in, specifically proprietary trading (trading for ones own accounts). Volcker has since acknowledged however proprietary trading did not lead to the financial crisis, calling the justification behind the rule into question. As a result, U.S. financial institutions have become less competitive globally, the cost of raising capital for small businesses has increased, and market liquidity has been reduced.
- Stop or repeal the Arbitration Rule. The CFPB is currently racing to finalize the proposed Arbitration Rule before President Trump takes office in January. The proposed rule would ban arbitration clauses in consumer finance contracts such as those used by lenders and credit card companies. The rule would be a boon for trial attorneys and a burden for consumers. The CFPB’s own study found arbitration clauses result in better outcomes for consumers, with awards being given in a matter of months, while class-action awards take years and have average payouts of less than $2 per person.
- Reform the CFPB. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the fastest rulemaking body in the federal government. Of the nearly 50 rules the CFPB has imposed, 26 of them have directly resulted in $2.8 billion in costs and 16.9 million hours of increased paperwork. Two primary CFPB reforms Trump can focus on are subjecting the bureau to Congressional oversight and shifting CFPB leadership from one unaccountable bureaucrat to a 5-member board.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Trump Should Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule
One of President-elect Trump’s goals for 2017 should be to kill the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule for financial advisors, commonly referred to as the “Fiduciary Rule”. The rule spans over one thousand pages and will reduce the ability of financial advisors to give advice to IRA and 401(k) holders, essentially putting the federal government in between Americans and their retirement savings decisions.
Estimates show the fiduciary rule could disqualify up to 7 million IRA holders from investment advice, and potentially reduce the number of IRAs opened annually by between 300,000 and 400,000.
The Trump administration could kill the rule in one of two ways. First, with a Republican controlled House and Senate, President Trump could look to do so by passing a bill that would effectively overturn the rule.
There has already been wide opposition to the rule expressed in both the House and Senate, with Representatives Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) introducing a resolution earlier this year under the Congressional Review Act to block the rule. A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
Alternatively, Trump’s second option and more likely choice would be to roll back the fiduciary rule using a new rule-making process at the Labor Department. With new DOL leadership, the Trump administration could delay the rule indefinitely. This delay would allow DOL officials under Trump to reverse the fiduciary rule altogether.
Whatever path President Trump might decide on, the need to kill the costly and burdensome fiduciary rule is huge. Killing the fiduciary rule before the April 10th 2017 implementation date would protect low-and-middle income families, small businesses, and employees from increased retirement savings costs and reduced access to investment advice.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Trump absolutely needs to kill this rule to keep access to advice for small investors and to give consumers choice in retirement investing.
First, it is not clear what "reverse" the rule would mean - just the definition of "fiduciary" or all of the exemptions that were amended or added? Second, most of the wirehouses have already embraced (most) of the Rule - how are the small brokers going to go back to "normal" when the big boys are spending millions on advertising that only they are giving truly unconflicted advice?
President Trump Plans to "Dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act"
In a statement released today President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team made it clear that one of Trump’s first priorities will be dismantling the massive 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Dodd-Frank Act for the economically disastrous impact it has had on the American economy, killing community banks, reducing access to credit, and increasing the regulatory burden on American businesses.
The statement issued on the Trump transition team website reads:
“The Dodd-Frank economy does not work for working people. Bureaucratic red tape and Washington mandates are not the answer. The Financial Services Policy Implementation team will be working to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies to encourage economic growth and job creation."
Among some of the items President-elect Trump has set his sights on as it relates to the Dodd-Frank Act are ending the Volcker Rule and reining in and reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The Trump team will have a legislative head start once they take office in January as House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has already laid out a Dodd-Frank reform blueprint with his Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983), which passed out of Committee recently.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Tim Kaine Wants to Increase Dodd-Frank Burden on Main Street America
In a recent interview Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine admitted that a Hillary Clinton White House would look to increase the burden of Dodd-Frank regulations in a misguided effort to help “Main Street”. The irony of Kaine’s plan is that small businesses on America’s Main Streets are already being crushed by Dodd-Frank regulations, and increasing such regulations will only serve to worsen the problem.
Speaking on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Kaine made it clear his goals are aligned with the far left liberal branch of the Democratic Party. Kaine praised Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D- Mass.) saying both, “have really important ideas that they’ve put on the table.” Clearly Kaine and the Clinton campaign are grossly out of touch.
Kaine went on to say that “we’ve got to keep regulation…on Wall Street, so that Wall Street doesn’t tank Main Street again” and that, “we put Dodd-Frank in place for a reason, and we want to strengthen it.” However the fact is Dodd-Frank has done nothing to improve the economic health of small businesses and has instead reduced access to the credit and capital many on Main Street need to survive and grow.
It is no secret that new and small businesses play an outsized role in creating jobs and opportunities in the U.S. economy. Yet new reports show a massive decrease in new business growth in recent years, and that slow down has been a product of reduced borrowing opportunities for new and small businesses.
For example, in 1980 firms in their first year accounted for 13 percent of all companies, but since 2010 that rate has fallen to around 8 percent. Similarly, in the 1990's the average new business hired over 7 workers, while in 2011 the average new business hired roughly 4 workers. Tim Kaine would clearly attribute this reduction to Hillary’s narrative of “Wall Street is crushing the little guy”, but such an argument is misplaced and simply political rhetoric.
The fact is two of the most disastrous results from Dodd-Frank that have impacted growth in small businesses are reduced access to credit due to community bank closures and consolidation, and an economically crushing regulatory burden.
Community banks (those with less than $10 billion in assets) serve as a primary source of credit for many new and small businesses. According to a 2015 Small Business Credit Survey, small business loan applicants were successful 76 percent of the time at small banks, versus 58 percent of the time at large banks.
Yet since the passage of Dodd-Frank, such sources of credit for many on Main Street looking to start or grow small businesses have dried up. In fact, since Dodd-Frank was enacted, the number of community banks has shrunk by 14 percent. Thus it should come as no surprise that since 2008 small businesses have seen a 15 percent decrease in lending.
Thus the issue is why Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton would want to “strengthen” Dodd-Frank in order to “help” Main Street. Clearly the resulting regulatory burden of Dodd-Frank has done nothing to help small businesses and instead has limited access to credit and inhibited economic growth on Main Streets across America.
Photo credit: Emily
Dodd-Frank was INVENTED to destroy MAIN STREET ! !
Ask any Communist ORGANIZER.
Dodd-Frank is Crushing Small Businesses and Startups in America
After 6 years, Dodd-Frank’s legacy is hindering American innovation. Since its passage, the Dodd-Frank Act has unleashed an onslaught of large and complex regulations. Because of these regulations the growth of American small businesses and startups has hit an all-time low. In a report by Third Way, these regulations are examined as a primary factor for this phenomenon.
The Third Way report found that while new businesses have played a historically large role in U.S. job creation, trends show that in recent years there has been a growing gap in borrowing opportunities for small businesses and startups. Contrast this with the fact that lending to large businesses has surged in recent years. Such trends can be tied to the fact that small banks are being forced to either consolidate or shutter their operations as a result of Dodd-Frank regulations.
The impact of Dodd-Frank regulations on small businesses and startups begins with their effect on small banks, such as community banks. Dodd-Frank regulations have led to higher compliance costs, which are economically disastrous for smaller banks because they lack the vast resources that their larger competitors possess. According to a study by the Mercatus Center, 90 percent of banks stated that compliance costs have increased since 2010. The report by Third Way highlights that such community and small banks “bear a disproportionate regulatory burden.”
Because of these increased compliance costs, small banks are reducing the number of services that they provide. It is also the case that as community banks close due to skyrocketing compliance costs and other regulatory factors, sources of credit for small businesses are simply no longer available. This has led to a decrease in small business lending in the U.S.
For instance, since 2008 lending to small businesses has decreased by 15%, while lending to big businesses has increased by 35%. According to a 2015 Small Business Credit Survey, small business applicants were successful 76% of the time at small banks, versus 58% of the time at large banks. Thus as community banks close or consolidate, small business lending dries up.
Small businesses are then left with no other option than to seek loans from lager banks, which cannot provide the same level of personalized service and competitive rates that community and small banks can provide. Ironically, as a result of Dodd-Frank, many large banks have also been forced to eliminate loans that after the financial crisis would be seen as too “risky”. For the most part, this means eliminating loans to businesses with less than $2 million in revenue, or alternatively eliminating loans less than $100,000 altogether.
This lack of access to credit has led to a reduction in the amount of startup firms in the U.S. In 1980, firms in their first year accounted for 13% of all companies, yet since 2010 that rate has dropped to roughly 8%. According to a 2015 survey by Federal Reserve banks, small businesses and startups are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain needed credit. The survey found that 63% of microbusinesses (firms with annual revenue under $100,000) and 58% of startups (firms less than two years old) were unable to realize their funding needs.
It is apparent that the onerous regulations imposed by Dodd-Frank have contributed to the decrease in startups and reduced access to credit for small businesses. This phenomenon not only hinders economic growth in the U.S., but impacts consumers as small businesses and startups are often leaders in product innovation. For those supporting Dodd-Frank, this should be a wake up call that it is time to look to much needed reforms that will encourage small business growth and innovation, instead of deterring innovation and competition in the market.
Photo Credit: Ian Lamont
DODD-FRANK was meant to force Banks
to make illegal risky loans. Community
Organizers (you-know-who) used it to
enforce the practice. These "LOANS"
were packaged into bundles and sold
to the sucker bankers of the world. When
these "LOANS" defaulted, economies
everywhere collapsed. Destroying small
businesses is only a BONUS by-product.
IT IS ONE OF S0R0S' OPEN SOCIETY'S
FINEST CON JOBS TO DATE ! !
Hillary Clinton: Dodd-Frank Passed for "Political Reasons"
Hillary Clinton has made it a point throughout her campaign to make it clear that she is the candidate that will hold Wall Street and the banking industry accountable, and continue to carry the torch of big government control over the market that was lit by the Dodd-Frank Act six years ago. Clinton even made it a point to have the Dodd-Frank poster child, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), appear with her repeatedly on the campaign trail.
However recently released e-mails from inside the Clinton campaign detail excerpts from her infamous paid speeches to Wall Street that show her so-called principled stance against Wall Street and support for Dodd-Frank was not so much principled as it was a complete and outright lie to the American people.
In a speech to Goldman Sachs in 2013, Clinton evidenced her true lack of support for the Dodd-Frank Act, alluding to the fact that Dodd-Frank and the over 20,000 pages of resulting regulations were not passed for the benefit of American consumers, but simply for political optics at the time. Clinton stated that:
“There was a lot of complaining about Dodd-Frank, but there was also a need to do something because for political reasons, if you were an elected member of Congress and…everybody in the press is saying it’s all the fault of Wall Street, you can’t sit idly by and do nothing…and I think the jury is still out on that because it was very difficult to sort of sort through it all.”
In similar remarks to Deutsche bank in 2014, Clinton made it clear that deep down she thought financial reform following the financial crisis should come from the financial industry, thus calling into question her praise of Dodd-Frank. Clinton remarked that:
“Teddy Roosevelt…took on what he saw as excesses in the economy, but he also stood against the excesses in politics. He didn’t want to unleash a lot of nationalist, populist reaction…Today there’s more that can and should be done that really has to come from the industry itself…and I really believe that our country and all of you are up to that job.”
Thus the questions that arise are if Dodd-Frank was passed solely for “political reasons” and not as a real and necessary response to the financial crisis as Americans were lead to believe, then why is Clinton still supporting Dodd-Frank and how many other lawmakers supported Dodd-Frank solely for political reasons?
If big government “excesses in politics” are not the answer but instead, as Clinton remarked, the industry and market itself should correct such issues, why does Clinton continue to advocate for anti-free market policy such as Dodd-Frank?
Clearly Mrs. Clinton has no problem playing politics when it benefits her, and is all too willing to support legislation that throws the economy and American consumers under the Dodd-Frank bus solely for political reasons.
Sadly, average Americans do not see the benefit of Clinton’s political reasoning, and are instead stuck with the Dodd-Frank behemoth that has led to increased financial costs, reduced access to capital, and a general sense of helplessness in the face of an out of control regulatory regime.
Photo credit: Brookings Institution
Hillary Clinton's "Fracking" Double-Speak
During the March 6th Democratic debate in Michigan, Hillary Clinton voiced her opposition to the energy extraction method known as “hydraulic fracturing.” Responding to a question on “fracking” during the debate, Clinton stated that, “by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”
However, newly leaked e-mails from inside the Clinton camp offer insight into what was really driving her fracking opposition. Spoiler alert – it was not some ideologically based concern over the safety of fracking or the environment, but instead Clinton’s desire to win at all costs.
According to the newly released e-mails, during the primaries one of Clinton’s top aides in Colorado suggested that she take a “reluctant tone” on fracking, likely because her appreciation for the extraction method would not play well with those on the far left. That same aid urged her to recruit a liberal ally to essentially conduct a political hit job on then candidate Bernie Sanders for his suggested ban on fracking.
However the most revealing insight into Clinton’s double-speak on fracking came from leaked excerpts from one of her infamous paid corporate speeches given to Deutsche Bank in 2013. During the speech Clinton praised the economic benefits of fracking and touted her goal of helping the U.S. “become the number one oil and gas producer.” Clearly there is disconnect between what Clinton says publicly and what she says when she thinks no one is listening.
The obvious conclusion that can be reached is that Clinton realizes the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing, which is also evidenced by her tenure as Secretary of State during which time she advocated for expanding hydraulic fracturing technology to countries across the globe.
It is also clear that Clinton would otherwise support the extraction method, and oil and gas development in general, were it not for her ability to ignore reality and her desire to win at all costs. This includes ignoring the fact that fracking has led to a 60 percent reduction in imported energy, billions in increased GDP, and over 2 million jobs created.
While Hillary Clinton would have preferred to keep American voters in the dark about her stance on fracking, the recently leaked e-mails support a different narrative. A narrative that shows her stance on energy is not to be trusted, and that Clinton is willing to ignore facts and sacrifice U.S. energy independence in order to appease a small group of far left extremists.
Photo credit: State Chancellery
ATR Releases Coalition Letter Opposing the Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 5714)
Americans for Tax Reform, joined by 21 free market organizations, today sent an open letter to Congress urging lawmakers to oppose H.R. 5714, the “Postal Service Reform Act of 2016” introduced by House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and the Committee’s Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
Since 2007, USPS has posted more than $50 billion in losses and faces $125 billion in unfunded liabilities, despite an estimated $18 billion annually in indirect subsidies.
While reforms are needed, the Postal Service Reform Act ignores basic needed reforms to USPS, and instead increases rates, shifts USPS’s financial burden onto the American public, and allows for the diversion of resources away from the core mission of mail delivery.
Read the full letter below or here:
To Members of the U.S. Congress:
We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of taxpayers and consumers nationwide, urge Congress to oppose H.R. 5714, the “Postal Service Reform Act of 2016” introduced by House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, and the Committee’s Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.
For years, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has suffered from operational and financial inefficiencies, and while reforms are needed, H.R. 5714 misses the mark and may actually exacerbate the issues facing USPS.
The USPS enjoys a monopoly on the delivery of first-class and standard mail and is exempt from state and local sales, income, and property taxes. The USPS also has the power of eminent domain, is not subject to local zoning ordinances, and has borrowed billions from the Treasury at subsidized interest rates.
Despite such special treatment, which is estimated to be $18 billion annually in indirect subsidies, USPS’s financial health is continually waning. Since 2007, USPS has posted more than $50 billion in losses and faces $125 billion in unfunded liabilities. Much of this stems from USPS’s inability to adapt to changing markets, congressional impediments, and union quagmires.
Many of the reforms provided for in H.R. 5714 lead USPS further away from the core mission of mail delivery, unfairly shift the Postal Service’s financial burdens onto the American public, and fail to address many of the underlying issues facing USPS.
Diversion to Nonpostal Products and Services. Key provisions contained in H.R. 5714 would allow the Postal Service to divert resources away from the core mission of mail delivery to providing nonpostal products and services to state, local, and tribal governments and federal agencies. The Act creates a “Chief Innovation Officer” tasked with managing the development and implementation of nonpostal products. While intended to generate new sources of revenue, such provisions are only a point of distraction, and will see the Postal Service further competing with private firms.
Postal Rate Reforms and Increases. Chairman Chaffetz’s reform bill would allow the Postal Service to increase rates by 2.15 percent on monopoly products such as stamps. Monopoly products generate the bulk of USPS profits. Increasing rates will only reduce revenue and further drive more consumers away from USPS products and services.
Postal Service Governance Reform. The USPS Board of Governors is comprised of nine members, not including the Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General, who are Presidentially appointed and confirmed by the Senate and serve seven-year terms. Since 2015, the Board of Governors has had only one Governor serving due to congressional hurdles. H.R. 5714 would reduce the USPS Board of Governors from a nine-member board to a five-member board. This hollow reform does nothing to actually improve USPS governance, and instead reinforces the fact that most of the provisions in the bill are simply reforms for the sake of reforms, having no real impact on the status quo.
We recognize the need for reforming the U.S. Postal Service. However Chairman Chaffetz’s Postal Service Reform Act ignores basic needed reforms to USPS, and instead increases rates, shifts USPS’s financial burden onto the American public, and allows for the diversion of resources away from the core mission of mail delivery.
It is for these reasons that we ask members of Congress to oppose this legislation.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
60 Plus Association
John M. Palatiello
Business Coalition for Fair Competition
Campaign for Liberty
Andrew F. Quinlan
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Jeffrey L. Mazzella
Center for Individual Freedom
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
George C. Landrith
Frontiers of Freedom
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Independent Women’s Forum
Institute for Liberty
Willes K. Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
R Street Institute
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Tea Party Nation
Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz
I oppose this bill because it requires postal employees to purchase Medicare Part B in order to keep their Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan in retirement. This in effect requires us to pay twice for the same coverage. If this is forced upon us we should be offered Part B at the "hold harmless" premium rate.
Ok Genius, what is your proposal? Privatize, skim the cream areas, and leave all the rural and underserved to pay more and drop that larger burden on the American people?
The postal service does a tremendous job six days a week for EVERY American citizen. As demonstrated by UPS and Fed-EX being two of its biggest customers.
Last mile delivery, and the growth of internet shopping make an efficient ALL serving USPS pivotal for ALL of our countries citizens.
The useless Republican led congress has done ZERO to solve this countries problems over the past eight years.
Its time to make needed reforms that are good for ALL our citizens.