House Republicans — as they have long threatened to do — have been advancing appropriations bills that undermine the Dodd-Frank financial reform law by not providing enough funding to the regulators charged with implementing it. The GOP has sought to cut the budgets of both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, two agencies that were already swamped with policing financial markets that have exploded in recent years.
These budget cuts will have a detrimental effect on the economy, as the agencies charged with reining in Wall Street excess will be unable to do so, allowing the nation’s biggest banks to go back to business as usual. But according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Republicans are on the right track. Today, McConnell explained that, in his view, “any move to slow down the agencies’ ability to implement rules stemming from the Dodd-Frank law is good for the country”:
“Anything we can do to slow down, deter or impede their ability to engage in this kind of oppressive overregulation which is freezing up our economy would be good for the country,” McConnell said, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor…McConnell endorsed those plans, saying, “The less we fund those agencies, the better America will be.”
As we’ve noted, Wall Street has actually spent as much to undermine Dodd-Frank this year as it spent trying to shape the bill at the height of the financial reform debate. And Senate Republicans have been happy to play along, refusing to confirm any nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency and hijacking unrelated bills with amendments meant to gut Dodd-Frank.
McConnell’s pronouncement shows that — despite the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, from which the country is still struggling to recover — the GOP is entirely uninterested in ensuring that there are cops on the beat watching out for Wall Street shenanigans. In fact, taken literally, McConnell thinks the country is at its best when the country’s titans of finance can operate entirely without oversight. Overall, U.S. households lost about $16.4 trillion in wealth due to the financial crisis, barely half of which has been recouped.