There’s been so much other news that was “sexier” to cover this week that this story didn’t get the media attention it deserves, but it will mean a heck of a lot more in the long run to millions of Americans than, say, James Comey’s tweets or which city embarrassed itself by honoring a porn star. The real news of the weeks is that the House joined the Senate in rolling back the heavy-handed Dodd-Frank regulations on community and regional banks with less than $250 billion in assets.
Dodd-Frank was passed in 2010 in response to the financial meltdown, when stricter oversight made sense in light of the reckless practices of the arrogant, “too big to fail” Wall Street banks. But it backfired because, while the giant banks that caused that mess could afford the staff and lawyers to cope with all the new mandates and paperwork, small town and regional banks couldn’t. These banks had to close, or ironically, get gobbled up by the “too big to fail” banks. The result was that the big banks got even bigger while individuals and small businesses that had always relied on their local banks for loans were left high and dry. As I’ve traveled America over the past few years, speaking and campaigning, I’ve heard countless horror stories about the consequences of the government’s “good intentions,” from private citizens and small business owners and from local bankers struggling to stay afloat in a tangle of red tape.
President Trump ran on a promise to roll back Dodd-Frank, and the bill is one of those rare issues that drew bipartisan support in both Houses. Opponents complain that it will leave only 10 giant banks subject to the full Dodd-Frank regulations. That’s like complaining that giving probation to a swindler is unfair because it would leave so many non-swindlers unpunished. But I’ll make them this deal: if your local bank or credit union causes the next worldwide financial meltdown by recklessly giving you a loan to buy a starter home or open a bait shop, I promise to admit I was wrong.
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