Common Dreams | 14 November, 2016
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) minced no words Monday as she raised alarm over the likelihood that, under a Donald Trump presidency, her congressional colleagues would quickly move to dismantle the consumer protection agency that she helped found.
“Anyone in Congress—GOP or Dem—who votes to weaken the [U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] CFPB, will declare loud & clear they represent giant banks, not working families,” the progressive firebrand declared on social media.
The warning came after reports that the CFPB, established in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis, now bears “a huge bulls-eye on its back” after Republicans won control over both the executive and legislative branches last week.
But in Monday’s Twitter tirade, Warren warned Wall Street-friendly Democrats, as well, as she preempted arguments that undercutting the CFPB would be a necessary compromise with the new GOP majority.
In a Monday column, Michael Barr, University of Michigan Law School professor and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said that following Trump’s win, he’s “most worried about what Trump’s promise to ‘dismantle’ financial reform will mean for the economy and the most vulnerable among us.”
Barr, who was also a key architect of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that established the CFPB, outlines the various ways this could be done—blocking oversight, undoing reforms that limit “Too Big to Fail” banks, attacking rules that “protect against systemic risks,” and stymieing market regulation, among other things—in addition to harming the CFPB, which could include
firing the person who had stood up to Wall Street, cutting its funding to block enforcement actions like the one against scams at Wells Fargo, permitting forced arbitration, taking away its authority over Wall Street auto lending, enabling “abusive” practices in the financial sector without any oversight or enforcement, and taking other actions to turn it into a feckless agency even more subject to attack by the very people undermining it.
Barr concludes that a Trump presidency could mean “the wholesale dismantling of every step taken since the financial crisis to make the financial system safer and fairer. It could mean exposing every American to greater risks from another financial crisis and to abuses from financial charlatans.”
Ultimately, he adds, the nation is “at risk of entering a time when we all pretend to forget what we all once and all too briefly knew: those with the least voice will be hurt the worst by undoing financial reform.”