Donald Trump signed another two executive orders Friday afternoon, this time aiming to make life easier for the corrupt Wall Street bankers who crashed the economy with such devastating effects in 2008. Congressional Democrats, however, have vowed to do everything in their power to keep Obama’s successful Wall Street reforms in place and protect American consumers from a repeat of the Great Recession.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was one of the first Democrats to slam Trump and his oligarch buddies for their greedy power play.
The Wall St bankers may be popping champagne, but Americans haven't forgotten the 2008 financial crisis – and they won't forget today.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 3, 2017
Congressional Democrats are not taking the new orders and the betrayal of the American people they represent lying down. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a powerful statement vowing to put up a firewall against any GOP attempt to repeal Wall Street reform:
If there was any doubt that President Trump had absolutely no intention to follow through on his campaign promises to working families across the country, this executive order should erase that doubt. It seems President Trump’s campaign promises to rein in Wall Street weren’t worth the banknotes they were printed on. Since its passage, Wall Street reform has protected crises and protected consumers, all while the stock market flourished and rose to unprecedented heights. Wall Street reform worked, plain and simple. The President’s attempts to repeal Wall Street reform will be met with a Democratic firewall in Congress. We will do everything in our power not let it be repealed, no ifs ands or buts.
Though one of his signature campaign promises was to “drain the swamp” of Wall Street influence, Trump’s inner circle is hardly distinguishable from a Goldman Sachs boardroom, and those cozy ties were evident today as he moved to loosen regulations on financial speculation. The first of his orders today is relatively limited, but sets the stage for a broader Republican push to repeal Dodd-Frank, the far-reaching Wall Street reform and consumer protection legislation signed into law by President Obama in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
The new order calls on the Treasury secretary to meet with other top financial regulators to produce a report detailing what is and isn’t working in Dodd-Frank. Given that Trump’s Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and many of his other top financial appointments are former Wall Street executives themselves, there is little doubt that such a report will call for gutting Dodd-Frank, a move that would open the financial markets to the same sort of predatory speculation that tanked the economy and ruined so many American lives in 2008.
The second of Trump’s daily litany of executive orders will have more immediate nefarious consequences. That order halts the implementation of the so-called “fiduciary duty” rule, which would have required retirement investment advisers to act solely for the benefit of their customers rather than pushing pricey and predatory investments to boost their commissions. The legislation was finalized last year by President Obama but wasn’t scheduled to go into effect until April of this year. Now, thanks to the Wall Street cronies Trump relies on for financial policy-making, the law is dead in the water and American seniors will continue to be subject to predatory investors.
We are clearly facing a long fight ahead of us against an administration thoroughly infiltrated by Wall Street executives who couldn’t give a damn about the well-being of the American people. It’s time to stand up to the Trump corporatocracy.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.